— Jersey Central Power & Light (JCP&L) has partnered with New Jersey Audubon to create new habitat for bees, butterflies and birds at the Black Bear Golf Club at Crystal Springs Resort in Franklin, New Jersey.

The project began last year when JCP&L and Crystal Springs Resort personnel cleared an existing JCP&L transmission line right-of-way at the golf course and planted native grasses and wildflower seeds to create a pollinator friendly area. After one growing season, the results are promising, with an influx of bees, butterflies and birds in the area.

The goal of the project is to create a habitat favored by the insects and animals that pollinate flowers, agricultural crops, fruit trees and other plants, while also helping JCP&L ensure proper clearances along the transmission line corridor to ensure safe and reliable electric service to customers. The project also will include signage installed by Crystal Springs Resort to educate visitors about the work that was done and the importance of pollinators.

“This unique habitat project showcases JCP&L’s ongoing commitment to protecting the environment,” said Jim Fakult, president of JCP&L. “Our collaborative partnerships with Crystal Springs Resort and New Jersey Audubon make that commitment even stronger to create lasting value in the communities we serve.”

The Black Bear Golf Club at Crystal Springs Resort is positioned in the middle of five recognized New Jersey Important Bird Areas. The habitat enhancements also are designed to help support native avian species, including field sparrows, prairie warblers, blue winged warblers and indigo buntings.

“The Crystal Springs Resort possesses incredibly beautiful and important habitat and we are thrilled to partner with New Jersey Audubon and JCP&L in pursuit of ongoing environmental stewardship,” said Art Walton, vice president of Crystal Springs Resort. “As a destination resort and community hub, we have a unique opportunity to promote our region’s natural assets for the benefit and enlightenment of many.”

JCP&L and Crystal Springs Resort are members of the New Jersey Audubon Corporate Stewardship Council, which emphasizes voluntary environmental stewardship, sustainability, conservation partnerships and public education.

“We are excited to be working with forward thinking partners like JCP&L and Crystal Springs Resort,” said Eric Stiles, president and CEO of NJ Audubon. “Together, we have taken the right steps in protecting some of our most valuable natural resources, such as birds, pollinators and the habitat that supports them. This land management adds to the natural beauty that already greets resort guests and golfers.”

New Jersey Audubon is a privately supported, not-for-profit, statewide membership organization. Founded in 1897, and one of the oldest independent Audubon’s, New Jersey Audubon is working to make New Jersey a better place for people and wildlife. New Jersey Audubon fosters environmental awareness and a conservation ethic among New Jersey's citizens; protects New Jersey's birds, mammals, other animals, and plants, especially endangered and threatened species; and promotes preservation of New Jersey's valuable natural habitats. For more information, visit www.njaudubon.org.

Crystal Springs Resort is acclaimed as the New York Metro area’s most unique four-season resort. Located an hour from the city, it is comprised of two luxury hotels – Grand Cascades Lodge and Mineral Hotel; six championship caliber golf courses, including the nationally acclaimed Ballyowen course; 10 restaurants; two full-service spas; and multiple indoor and outdoor pools. For more information visit www.crystalgolfresort.com.

JCP&L is a subsidiary of FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE: FE). JCP&L serves 1.1 million New Jersey customers in the counties of Burlington, Essex, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Passaic, Somerset, Sussex, Union and Warren. Follow JCP&L on Twitter @JCP_L, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/JCPandL, or online at www.jcp-l.com.