WEST CHESTER (April 25, 2022) –The West Chester Green Team and the West Chester Business Improvement District were recently presented with the Community Pride Award from Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful by state Senator Carolyn Comitta. 

The two community organizations were honored on Earth Day for their work in building a pollinator garden at the Chestnut Street Parking Garage in downtown West Chester. 

“Creating pollinator gardens not only adds character to our historic downtowns, but it also helps support the many pollinators that fertilize our plants and crops,” said Comitta, who nominated the group for the award. “I am proud to recognize the West Chester Green Team and the Business Improvement District for coming together for this great community initiative.” 

The 1,700-square-foot garden, planted with the help of more than 20 volunteers, contains more than 400 native plants, 10 trees, and dozens of shrubs from local nurseries. 

“The West Chester Businesses Improvement District is honored to receive this award from Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful in recognition of the Chestnut Street Garage Pollinator Garden,” said John O’Brien executive director of the West Chester Business Improvement District. “This was a community effort, and it couldn’t have come together without the West Chester Green Team and the Borough of West Chester.  Our hope is that the garden helps to spur more sustainable beautification in downtown West Chester and serves as an educational effort on the importance of using and supporting native pollinating plants.” 

According to the Pollinator Partnership, birds, bats, bees, butterflies, beetles, and other small animals that pollinate plants are responsible for bringing us one out of every three bites of food. Pollinators also provide pollination services to over 180,000 different plant species and more than 1200 crops. They add $217 billion to the global economy and honeybees alone are responsible for billions of dollars in agricultural productivity in the United States. 

Unfortunately, due to a variety of factors including urbanization, pesticide use, climate change, and the spread of emergent predators, pollinator populations have been in a steady decline.

“We are thrilled to be recognized for our community gardening work and look forward to more joint projects with the BID,” said Margaret Hudgings of the West Chester Green Team. “We want to extend our special thanks to Carolyn Comitta who stood with our tiny – at that time –environmental group and advised us on how to organize to stop the spraying of toxic chemicals in the community.  She has always supported us and her values perfectly coincide with ours –supporting clean and green neighborhoods, reading to children and supporting community education, and (when possible) making decisions with the health of the planet in mind.”   

The Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful Community Pride Award recognizes outstanding environmental stewardship by an individual, school, community organization, or civic group that makes a commitment to litter control, recycling, or general beautification.

Since its inception in 1990, Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful has worked in all 67 counties to support community beautification efforts and properly dispose of over 155 million pounds of waste. 

Comitta, who serves as minority chair of the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, continues to champion efforts to protect pollinators and promote the creation of pollinator habitats.

She introduced legislation to create a new pollinator habitat license plate that is now available to Pennsylvania motorists. Sales of the specialty license plates will fund a new program to support the migration of pollinators by creating native grass and perennial wildflower-filled habitats along our state highways.