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NorthWestern Energy plants trees for Earth Day and Volunteer Week

NorthWestern Energy plants trees for Earth Day and Volunteer Week
Posted at 4:30 PM, Apr 22, 2024

GREAT FALLS — NorthWestern Energy partnered with NeighborWorks Great Falls on Monday, April 22, 2024, to plant trees in honor of Earth Day and coinciding with the start of Volunteer Week.

“We are finishing the exteriors, the landscaping, and our trees, which to the last families means everything,” said Kevin Mellinger, construction project supervisor for NeighborWorks Great Falls, “That means we're at the end of it.”

NorthWestern Energy workers spent the morning of Earth Day on the south side of Great Falls, planting more than a dozen trees and laying about 3,000 square feet of sod.

“We partnered with NeighborWorks,” said Shane Etzwiler, community relations manager for NorthWestern Energy, “They coordinated the trees, we marked the lines for the utilities, and then today we've been helping them plant trees on these new owner built homes.”

The owner-built homes are part of NeighborWorks Great Falls’ self-help program, where every year ten families help build each other’s homes from the ground up. The program is a huge time commitment and would not be possible without volunteers.

“Service is part of our core values with Northwestern Energy,” said Etzwiler, “And a lot of what we do is community relations and service work in our community and a lot of volunteerism. And so we just thought it was a great way with Volunteer Week with Earth Day to partner up with them.”

NeighborWorks Great Falls strives to help families find quality homes that they can afford to live in.

“Out here we are focused on making homes affordable, whether it's to build, to live in, to maintain,” said Mellinger, “The whole purpose of it is getting families that truly deserve to be in houses, in affordable housing.”

“Having Northwestern out here today again means the world to these homeowners,” said Emma Nelson, community engagement and marketing coordinator for NeighborWorks Great Falls,” A little less work, a little less off their plate to lay the sod, plant the trees. So it's a big deal.”

Despite the chill and the wind, the volunteers were eager and willing to spend their morning outside, helping make the community a better place.