Lancaster Gets an Early Earth Day Gift In Dock Award Tree Planting at Dart Plant

Lancaster received an early Earth Day gift of 100 new trees during the weekend.

Dr. Zeshan Ismat of Lancaster City and Dart Corporation employees planted 100 trees on the company’s property at 110 Pitney Road, Lancaster, Saturday morning.

Dr. Ismat received a 2022 Mira Lloyd Dock Partnership Diversity Award from the Keystone 10 Million Trees Partnership for her conservation and environmental justice work in under-represented portions of her community. The Partnership is coordinated by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF).

The Dock Award presentation to Ismat, and Saturday’s tree planting, were made possible by partnership with the Arbor Day Foundation and Project UP, an initiative of Packaging Corporation of America and Boise Paper that aims to revitalize urban communities through tree planting. Recipients of the Dock Award receive trees and supplies to help advance their efforts.

Brennan Ka’aihue of Central Pennsylvania also received a 2022 Dock Award and planted trees and shrubs in Carlisle last fall.

“CBF is deeply appreciative and supportive of the work Dr. Zeshan Ismat has done in her community, making connecting to nature and land stewardship more accessible,” said Carla Eissing, CBF Grassroots Manager in Pennsylvania. “She truly embodies the spirit of the Mira Lloyd Dock Award and we’re honored to partner with her and Dart to plant more trees and be part of the climate resiliency work in Lancaster.”

Dr. Ismat started the Blackbirds Environmental Justice group to teach youngsters in Lancaster City about the environment in a fun way while emphasizing stewardship, community, and justice. She said the mission is getting people, particularly youngsters from marginalized communities, involved in the natural world.

“Our identity is tied to our land and if that connection is strained the community can suffer,” Dr. Ismat said. “Everybody talks about climate change, and it is difficult for a lot of people to connect with these issues unless they are actually connected with the land. Little things like digging in the ground can help to feel connected and give you agency and ownership over your land and want to take care of it and think about the larger scale issues.”

Ismat is a geology professor at Franklin & Marshall College and before Blackbirds she was working on anaerobic digesters, putting compost into barrels to collect methane that forms naturally and can then be used for power. 

“As part of Dart’s environmental stewardship efforts, our employee Community Action Teams always look for opportunities to clean up our neighborhoods and improve our planet,” said Matt Hess, Human Resources Business Partner for Dart Container’s Lancaster, manufacturing facility. “Planting trees improves soil and water conservation, helps regulate extreme temperatures and increases wildlife habitat – and they are beautiful additions to our property for our employees to enjoy.”

CBF launched the Keystone 10 Million Trees Partnership in 2018 with a goal of planting 10 million trees for Pennsylvania to help meet the state’s Clean Water Blueprint.  

Mira Lloyd Dock is recognized as the first Pennsylvania woman to lead the way in forest conservation. She was an advocate for Penn’s Woods and in 1901 was appointed to the State Forest Reservation Commission by Pennsylvania Governor William Stone.

B.J. Small 90x110

B.J. Small

Pennsylvania Communications & Media Relations Manager, CBF

[email protected]

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