Communities Become Part of the Solution
With CBF's help, folks in low-income sections of three southcentral Pennsylvania cities are making the most of opportunities to improve local water quality, reduce flooding, and beautify their neighborhoods.
In Harrisburg, volunteers planted new street trees in Midtown and two three-tier rain barrel systems were installed at the Camp Curtin YMCA in the city.
A demonstration rain garden was added to Harrisburg's Summit Terrace neighborhood in partnership with Capital Region Water. Rafiyqa Muhammad was the rain garden maintenance specialist for CBF's Pennsylvania office and oversaw its progress.
In another activity, CBF staff and the Appalachian Audubon Society prepared garden sites at Benjamin Franklin and Foose Elementary Schools to serve as outdoor classrooms, bird habitat, and native pollinator gardens.
In Lancaster, groups like King Elementary School, San Juan Bautista Catholic Church, Lancaster TreeTenders, and residents of Hillrise Mutual housing complex and the city, partnered with CBF on Arbor Day for the largest tree planting ever.
At a workshop at Columbia Crossings River Trails Center in Lancaster County, over 40 people helped make rain barrels for homeowners. A composting workshop at the same location was part of CBF's Homeowner's Best Management Practices series.
A paddling trip from Columbia on the Susquehanna River as part of Lancaster Water Week, encouraged many first-time paddlers, to enjoy local waterways.
In York, winners of the "Street 2 Creek" contest added their colorful artwork to storm drains in high traffic areas of the city, promoting the importance of keeping trash out of the stormwater system.
In another part of York, volunteers from Salt and Light Youth Ministry planted a rain garden in the city's Royal Square community garden.
Volunteers also took part in a United Way community garden workday, and CBF donated plants and helped get a new garden into the ground at the United Way Foundation in York.
These and other environmental justice projects are made possible by an environmental education grant from Pennsylvania's Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), which CBF matched. "Meeting people where they are, to appreciate their concerns and priorities, builds understanding, respect, and helps empower people," said CBF's Pennsylvania Executive Director Harry Campbell. "Clean water is a vital part of that. Our families and communities depend on it. That's why we all should have the knowledge and opportunity to be part of the solution."
Since the 2017 grant award, CBF has been collaborating with local partners in urban communities to address problems caused by polluted runoff, to learn how to have a voice in how it is addressed, and to take action.
"Partnership is everything. Many hands make light work," said Carla Johns, CBF Grassroots Field Specialist in Pennsylvania. "People who know their community best have made it blossom because they care and want to see their community improve."
Pennsylvania Executive Director
Chesapeake Bay Foundation