How the Green Team Celebrated Earth Day

Rev. Dan Schatz performs

On the 54th “Earth Day Birthday,” April 22, the Green Team held a rally at the County’s Historic Courthouse, moderated by Prof. Megan Schraedley. At several points in the program, Smithsonian recording artist Rev. Dan Schatz of West Chester’s Unitarian Congregation played and sang beautifully and meaningfully for all committed to beneficial change. Lenape elder David Eagle Heart Simon gave a Lenape blessing, with incense and incantation.

We were particularly honored by the presence of County Commissioner Josh Maxwell, State Representative Chris Pielli, and State Senator Carolyn Comitta, all of whom spoke encouragingly about progress in environmental and sustainability action at the county and state levels. Chester County is at the forefront of such efforts, now comprising over 30% of its area as preserved open space and numbering about a third of all municipalities in the state to have banned single-use plastic bags. Many thanks to dedicated public servants such as these!

Renee Perna giving an update on the upcoming Porchfest

Former West Chester Mayor Jordan Norley used the impetus toward a rail connection with Philadelphia as an example of acting to reduce fossil fuel use and traffic congestion. Green Team board member Renee Perna gave an update on the exciting West Chester Porchfest event coming up on May 20. And Ollie Finneran represented the environmental commitments of today’s children in style, even finishing his remarks with a joke.

In an unscripted moment, Jay Leno happened to walk by and chatted on the sidewalk.

Volunteers at work on the Chestnut St. Garage pollinator garden, 2022

Senator Comitta also presented the Green Team, represented at the top of the steps by board members Gillian Alicea and David Wickard, with a Community Pride Award from Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful. The award, shared with the West Chester Business Improvement District, honored the two community organizations for their work in building a pollinator garden last year at the Chestnut Street Parking Garage in downtown West Chester. See more about the award in the Daily Local News, 4/26/23, and about the garden here on our web site.

Rebecca Malloy at work on 140 cupcakes for the rally

An unusual point of interest was our cupcakes, a big hit, made by Rebecca Malloy, with all 140 consumed by appreciative rally attendees and passers-by.

Jordan Norley then led a march from the Courthouse to the Unitarian Congregation for a Green Fair co-sponsored by West Chester Green Team and the Unitarian Congregation. Features included snacks by the the West Chester Co-op, represented by Sue Patterson and Co-op intern Abby Perry; a display by Mother Compost (see Tiffany Kennedy’s article here); a plant giveaway by Nathaniel Smith; Matt Zencey for Citizens’ Climate Lobby; and Suzanne Webster and Tim Lawlor for the Dark Sky initiative.

Reiko Yoshida, WCU graduate and professor of Japanese at Temple University, led an origami workshop whose participants folded 61 origami cranes, which were contributed to Congresswoman Chrissy Houlahan’s 1,000 Paper Crane Projec to send these symbols of hope to Hiroshima for the G7 Summit. The total of over 10,000 origami peace cranes collected from people across Berks and Chester Counties will ultimately go to Hiroshima, demonstrating the power of community in worldwide cooperation for peace. See background on the cranes project in the Daily Local News, 4/12/23, and in MyChesco, 5/2/23.

Finally, at a Repair Cafe Jim Hudgings and Eric Schraedley answered questions and offered help. What’s a Repair Café? Essentially, attendees bring items in need of repair which other people fix! This keeps usable items from going to the landfill and reduces the volume of raw materials and energy that go into new products. It also provides those with repair skills the opportunity to put them to good use and share with others in the community. See more about Repair Cafes in the County’s Sustainability News, spring 2023; and note that one is being held in Downingtown on May 13 (see in our calendar).

Ollie Finneran awaits his turn to speak

We are looking for such people! If you can repair clothing, small appliances, electronics, lamps, small pieces of furniture, etc, please email us here.