- Made Possible by BMW’s $1.25 Million Donation to Restore and Preserve Wetlands at Unity Park.
- Aligns with the BMW Group’s Sustainability Strategy.
- Largest Private Donation to Unity Park in Greenville, SC.
Greenville, S.C. BMW Manufacturing joined the City of Greenville and dozens of children to celebrate the official opening of the Reedy River Wetlands Preserve at Unity Park. Last year, BMW Manufacturing donated $1.25 million to restore and preserve the urban wetlands west of downtown Greenville, South Carolina. The donation also supported the construction of low-impact, ADA-accessible boardwalks and overlooks through the wetlands.
“At BMW, we firmly believe that it is our responsibility as a corporate citizen to give back and support the communities where our associates live and work,” said Dr. Robert Engelhorn, president and CEO of BMW Manufacturing. “What better way to do this than preserving and protecting a natural environment like the Reedy River Wetlands Preserve in Unity Park, which aligns perfectly with BMW’s sustainability strategy. The boardwalk and learning areas will provide a quiet space where the community and visitors can walk, rest, and learn more about this unique ecosystem.”
At the ceremony’s conclusion, participants joined children from the Westside Community Center to cut the ribbon, opening the Reedy River Wetlands Preserve to the public. The children then gathered at the Duke Energy Outdoor Classroom for an educational “field trip” about the wetlands and their importance.
A wetland is a distinct ecosystem that is flooded or saturated by water either seasonally or permanently. They are valuable to society in many ways.
“Wetlands are home to many different species of plants and animals, including amphibians, reptiles, mammals, and birds,” said Manfred Pernitsch, vice president of Real Estate Management and Environmental Protection for the Americas. “They help replenish groundwater resources, mitigate flooding, cycle nutrients, and help remove pollutants. Wetlands also store carbon and keep it from being released into the atmosphere as a greenhouse gas.”
The restoration of the wetlands, which reveals the original path of the Reedy River, included the removal of invasive plant species as well as ash trees affected by the emerald ash borer, a wood-boring beetle that has killed millions of ash trees in North America. In their place, workers carefully placed at least 100 native trees and more than 200 native shrubs – aligning well with one of Unity Park’s nine guiding principles of driving towards a sustainable future.
Visitors to the wetlands will see multiple species of plants and trees including Green Arrow Arum, Silky Dogwood, Sweet Gum, American Sycamore, and Magnolia Grandiflora. Additionally, the wetlands are home to various wildlife such as Great Blue Herons, snapping turtles, North American raccoons, spotted salamanders, mallard ducks, and monarch butterflies.
Since 1992, the BMW Group has invested nearly $12.4 billion in its South Carolina operations. BMW Manufacturing is the largest BMW Group plant in the world, producing more than 1,500 vehicles each day. The plant is an important part of BMW’s global production network and plays a critical role in meeting the high demand for BMW Sports Activity Vehicles and Coupes in the U.S. and around the world. Nearly 60 percent of its vehicles are shipped to about 120 global markets, making BMW the largest automotive exporter by value in the United States for nine consecutive years. In 2022, more than 60 percent of BMW vehicles sold in the U.S. came from Plant Spartanburg. The model portfolio includes six top-selling BMW X models, five Motorsport X models, and three plug-in hybrid electric vehicle X models. The factory has an annual production capacity of up to 450,000 vehicles and employs more than 11,000 people.