Southern Company (PRNewsFoto/Southern Company) (PRNewsfoto/Southern Company)

Southern Company (PRNewsFoto/Southern Company) (PRNewsfoto/Southern Company)

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ATLANTA, Sept. 8, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Southern Company, in partnership with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) and other public and private partners, have collectively awarded $5.3 million in grants to restore, enhance and protect longleaf pine forests across the Southeast.

Southern Company contributed $600,000 that will directly fund conservation for 11 projects across its service territory. When combined with funds from other partners and matching contributions, the grants represent a total conservation impact of $12.2 million.

Twenty-one grants were awarded through the Longleaf Landscape Stewardship Fund and are expected to establish more than 15,000 acres of new longleaf pine forest and will enhance an additional 400,000 acres through prescribed burning, invasive species removal and other forest management practices. Grantees will engage private landowners through workshops and technical assistance to restore and maintain longleaf pine habitat on their lands.

"We are proud to support conservation through the Longleaf Landscape Stewardship Fund," said Jeff Burleson, Southern Company's senior vice president for environmental and system planning. "These grants will support diverse longleaf-pine ecosystems in Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi and Virginia that are vital to many plant and wildlife species. We're committed to stewardship and conservation of this rich landscape we're so fortunate to share with our communities."

The grants will also increase and improve habitat for several at-risk species, including the red-cockaded woodpecker, gopher tortoise and northern bobwhite quail. These species depend on mature longleaf pine canopy and understory these projects will help to restore and maintain.

The awards mark a decade of grant-making through the public-private partnership, which has now invested nearly $50 million since the program launched in 2012, leveraging an additional $62 million in matching contributions for a total conservation impact of more than $112 million.

"Now in its tenth year of grant-making, the Longleaf Landscape Stewardship Fund continues to expand and improve the longleaf pine ecosystem, benefiting numerous at-risk species," said Jeff Trandahl, executive director and CEO of NFWF. "This longstanding public-private partnership has enabled us to engage more project partners, reach more landowners and support landscape-scale projects that will improve and maintain the iconic longleaf pine ecosystem."

A complete list of the 2021 grants made through the Longleaf Landscape Stewardship Fund is available here.

About Southern Company

Southern Company (NYSE: SO) is a leading energy company serving 9 million customers through its subsidiaries. The company provides clean, safe, reliable and affordable energy through electric operating companies in three states, natural gas distribution companies in four states, a competitive generation company serving wholesale customers across America, a leading distributed energy infrastructure company, a fiber optics network and telecommunications services. Southern Company brands are known for excellent customer service, high reliability and affordable prices below the national average. For more than a century, we have been building the future of energy and developing the full portfolio of energy resources, including carbon-free nuclear, advanced carbon capture technologies, natural gas, renewables, energy efficiency and storage technology. Through an industry-leading commitment to innovation and a low-carbon future, Southern Company and its subsidiaries develop the customized energy solutions our customers and communities require to drive growth and prosperity. Our uncompromising values ensure we put the needs of those we serve at the center of everything we do and govern our business to the benefit of our world. Our corporate culture and hiring practices have been recognized nationally by the U.S. Department of Defense, G.I. Jobs magazine, DiversityInc, Black Enterprise, Forbes and the Women's Choice Award. To learn more, visit www.southerncompany.com.

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SOURCE Southern Company

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