How Drones Are Helping Keep Ford Workers Safe

A Ford manufacturing plant is using drones to inspect the facility’s machinery, roofing and other equipment to improve safety while saving money and time. 518536_v2_Ford_Drone

Before putting the drones to work, Ford’s maintenance team put up scaffolding and platforms for the inspections that took 12 hours to complete. It wasn’t just the time and work to put up the scaffolding that was costly. The platform and scaffolding construction made it necessary to close the facility during inspections.

Now, with feet firmly on the ground and controlling drones equipped with GoPro cameras, maintenance workers can thoroughly inspect each area in under 15 minutes. The entire manufacturing facility can be covered in a day, zoning in on hard-to-reach areas to ensure they are well-maintained and comply with rigorous safety standards.CWVAoXKWIAA3h33

“We’d joked about having a robot do the work when there was a lightbulb moment – use drones instead,” said Pat Manning, machining manager, Ford Dagenham Engine Plant. “We used to have to scale heights of up to 50 metres to do the necessary checks on the roof and machining areas. Now we can cover the entire plant in one day and without the risk of team members having to work at dangerous heights.”

Ford’s drones are also being utilized for inspecting pipework, locating air leaks and checking machinery. Ford is now evaluating the possibility of using this high-flying technology at other facilities.



Gardening for Wildlife Offers Many Benefits for Humans! Free Resources to Help You and Your Ecosystem

ic1dX3kBQjGNaPQb8Xel_1920 x 1280Have you seen many butterflies among your flowers? What about bees? Both groups of beneficial insect pollinators are on the decline. Whether you’re a gardening novice with a small balcony or gardening veteran with a few acres; you may be able to help wildlife in your area.

11143726_10206658936376331_7902897938553433236_nMay is National Garden for Wildlife Month. From bird watchers to bunny lovers, people are working to transform their gardens into havens for wildlife. One nonprofit in the Saint Louis area is working to provide a living landscape for birds and other wild animals. The Animal Protective Association of Missouri or APA is part of the growing trend to garden for wildlife. APA Executive Director Steve Kaufman is working with the Saint Louis Audubon Society to create landscaping to encourage wildlife and benefit the ecosystem surrounding the adoption center.

Kaufman says Audubon volunteers are helping in two ways: “They are providing the expertise on what plants are good for native wildlife and also providing some of the plants needed for our landscaping.”
It is not unusual to see rabbits, birds and even the occasional wild turkey on the grounds of the APA Adoption Center located in a busy retail and business district. Using native plants and smart landscaping choices can have meaningful impact on populations of birds and wildlife in the area.


“The APA cares for all animals, not just the ones brought into our facility for direct care. This is just a small way to do our part to help the native Missouri animals that live in our area (or fly through!)” explains Kaufman.

This type of gardening has benefits for humans too. The traditional suburban lawn, on average, has ten times more chemical pesticides per acre than farmland. By choosing native plants for your landscaping, you are creating a healthier place for your family and community.11078212_10204083286547347_1748544961633585133_n
The Missouri Botanical Gardens offers many free resources online to help with native gardens. You can find them by clicking on A Guide to Native Landscaping in Missouri or following this link:

A national native online plant guide can be accessed by clicking on American Beauty Native Plants or following this link:

The National Federation for Wildlife offers many free resources for gardening to benefit wildlife. There is also a program to certify your yard or outdoor space as Certified Wildlife Habitat®. You can learn more at

Vital pollinators on the decline

Vital pollinators on the decline