West Vincent Pollinator Pitstop Garden Program

Because what’s good for pollinators is good for people!

The West Vincent Pollinator Pitstop Program was designed by the West Vincent Environmental Advisory Council to blanket our township in native flowers.  The goals are to 1) provide residents with free and low-cost native plants that benefit our pollinators and birds and beautify our world and 2) to raise awareness of loss of biodiversity, risks of pesticides, the negative outcomes of our lawn monoculture, ways to keep your leaves on your property, protecting plants from deer, and the physical and mental health benefits of being in and connecting with nature and our neighbors.

The project began in the fall of 2021 with the preparation of our first demonstration Pitstop Garden in Evans Park, the park in which our township building sits.  Our aspiration is to plant and maintain Pitstop gardens in each of our WV parks.  In early November, 2021, we held a demonstration of the easy way to convert lawn to garden – the lasagna method.  We collected Amazon boxes and bagged leaves and rocks, laid out the 12’ x 4’ garden, and placed a small temporary fence around it to hold in the leaves.  We then put down the cardboard, placed rocks on top to hold it down, and put about 2’ of leaves on top.  We left it to sit for the winter, with a Pollinator Pitstop Hatching sign in front.

The project continued in January.  The EAC held a free butterfly milkweed seed giveaway on a very cold Saturday in January.  We gave out plastic milk jugs to anyone who didn’t have one, and we handed out written instructions, which were on our webpage with an instructional video.  There was a line of cars through the township parking lot, with dozens of people cold-sowing native plants for the first time!

Next, in March, the Girl Scouts planted 650 butterfly milkweed plants, which were raised inside under ideal (for milkweed) conditions so that they would bloom the first year.  These plants were given away at our Community Day in mid-May, where we also held a partridge-pea seed ball activity for the kids. EAC members wore butterfly wings – we felt really goofy, but it ended up creating great energy and being a real conversation starter!  We had enough plants for our township gardener to plant them throughout our park and our Community Garden space.

At the end of May, after the soil had warmed up, we finally planted the Pitstop Demonstration Garden.  Several families had purchased the full complement of Pitstop Garden plants through the Ludwigs Corner Horse Show Assoc., so they followed along and planted a similar garden at home.  Our lasagna method had worked perfectly!  The grass had died, the cardboard was completely gone, and there were just enough leaves left to serve as a pretty mulch.  The 4’ x 12’ design had been selected to be easy to reach into from the front to weed.  The planting was quick and easy, as the soil under the “lasagna” was light and easy to dig in.  The final step of the garden preparation was to lay down flat stones, with landscape fabric underneath, so it would be easy for the lawn crew to mow around it.

Many people showed up for the planting – some of them first time gardeners!  So far, we have 179 households participating in this program.  We are all gardening together and learning together.  Some of our goals for next year are to add spring and fall nectar sources, trees, and shrubs, and to demonstrate plants with deep roots for stormwater maintenance.

At the end of the 2022 school year, the West Vincent Elementary School hosted an environmental day based around our Pitstop program.  Regular classes were suspended for the day, and the children participated in educational sessions mixed with hands-on learning, centered around the Monarch butterfly theme.  Each child participated in seed planting, making seed balls, and creating a drawing of their version of “What Makes a Butterfly”, (sun, rain, soil, children with watering cans, etc., etc.), and the resulting 650 six-inch square drawings were woven into a paper quilt, which will hang in the school lobby. 

Our community has been enriched by this program.

Our Pollinator Pitstop Demonstration Garden is located in Evans Park, just to the right of the parking lot on Rt. 401, between St. Matthews Rd. and Fellowship Rd., Chester Springs, PA.

Download pdf here.

Chestnut Street Garage Pollinator Garden

In May 2022, the West Chester Business Improvement District (BID) spearheaded a landscape project in partnership with the West Chester Green Team, to enhance the natural beauty of the Borough’s downtown business district. Behind the Chestnut Street Parking Garage along Prescott Alley is a beautiful new garden that focuses on the ecological benefits of native plants. This garden offers pedestrians a warm welcome to West Chester, habitat for our pollinators and a passive educational opportunity to those who pass by every day.

Designed by local resident and landscape architect Chris Pugliese and built with the help of over 20 volunteers, the 1,700 square foot garden was funded by the West Chester BID and planted with over 400 perennials, 10 trees and dozens of shrubs. One outcome of the planting plan was the creation of an almost instant “settled-in” garden, achieved by grouping species in swaths along the linear planting area, and using larger perennials in 1-gallon containers sourced from local nurseries including Clearview Nursery out of Souderton and North Creek Nurseries in Oxford PA.  Even though the garden is considered young (it’s still under one year old!), it looks like it was planted several seasons ago. Integrated into the design is a gravel walking path with a bamboo edging fence, allowing for the community to engage and view the garden up close. 

A major goal for the garden was to become certified by Penn State University as a “Pennsylvania Pollinator Friendly Garden.” Requirements for this certification include 1) provide food for pollinators; 2) provide water sources for pollinators; 3) provide shelter including a bee box; 4) remove invasive species; and 5) eliminate pesticide use. Certification is expected to be completed by the end of 2022.

This is the first of many projects planned by the BID to help its members revitalize and green their alleyway properties. We invite you to come close and enjoy the garden through all your senses and take some time to enjoy this bit of habitat in the downtown.

The Chestnut Street Garage is in the middle of the above map from the BID, at the SW corner of E. Chestnut and N. Walnut. The garden lies along the southern edge of the garage, on Prescott Alley.

Photos, preliminary plan and plant list thanks to Chris Pugliese.

Download pdf here.

Trees, Shrubs and Vines
Clethra alnifolia “Hummingbird”Summersweet
Cercis canadensisEastern Redbud
Caylcanthus floridus “Hartlage Wine”Carolina Allspice
Cepholanthus occidentalis “Sugar Shack”Dwarf Buttonbush
Ilex glabra “Shamrock”Inkberry
Ilex verticilatta “Jim Dandy”Winterberry
Juniperis virginianaEastern Red Cedar
Aesculus pavia
Cornus florida
Perennials, Grasses
Phlox Jeanna
Aster “October Skies”Aster
Allium “Millenium”Ornamental Onion
Agastache ” Black Adder”Purple Haze Anise Hyssop
Amsonia Storm CloudAmsonia Storm Cloud
Baptisia australisBlue False Indigo
Eupatorium coelestinumBlue Mist Flower
Eupatorium dubium “Baby Joe”Baby Joe Joe-Pye Weed
Liatris KoboldGayfeather
Monarda Raspberry WineBee Balm
Monarda Jacob KlineBee Balm
Lobelia syphliticaBlue Lobelia
Penstemon dig. “Dark Towers”Beardtongue
Pycnanthemum muticumAppalachian Mountain Mint
Echinacea “Magnus”Coneflower
Phlox subulata Emerald BlueMountain Pink
Phlox subulata Emerald PinkMountain Pink
Panicum virg. “Northwind”Switchgrass
Rudbeckia deamiiBlack Eyed Susan
Solidago “Golden Fleece”Goldenrod
Solidago “Little Lemon”Goldenrod
Sorghastrum nut. “Indian Steel”Indian Grass
Schizachyrium scoparium ‘Standing Ovation’Little Bluestem
Amsonia Blue Ice
Vernonia Iron ButterflyDwarf Iron weed
Packera aureusGolden Groundsel

“International Dark Sky Week” resolution in Harrisburg

In April , the Green Team’s strong ally Senator Carolyn Comittap (Minority Chair, Environmental Resources & Energy) proposed that the last week in April 2022 be recognized as “International Dark Sky Week” in Pennsylvania. Her resolution No. 284, cosponsored by Chesco Senators Kane and Kearney among others, unfortunately was not acted on. Let’s hope for a better reception in next year’s General Assembly!

See the video of Senator Comitta’s remarks here and the text below:

I’ve introduced a Senate Resolution designating the week of April 22 through April 30, 2022, as “International Dark Sky Week” in Pennsylvania.

There is no experience quite like venturing outdoors and gazing up at the stars on a clear, crisp evening. It can truly put things in perspective and remind us of our place in the universe, and our connection to the environment and each other.

In addition, there’s a growing understanding of how over-lighting and excessive light pollution can negatively impact:

• Sleep patterns and circadian rhythms.

• Mental and physical health.

• Habitats for wildlife species, especially nocturnal creatures, insect life, and pollinators.

• Visibility for motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians.

And our efforts to promote energy efficiency.

International Dark-Sky Association reports that 83 percent of the global population lives under a light-polluted sky.

I support the efforts of residents, businesses, and communities that are embracing environmentally responsible techniques to reduce light pollution and better protect the night sky.

Read the full text of the resolution below:

THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF PENNSYLVANIA

SENATE RESOLUTION No. 284 Session of 2022

INTRODUCED BY COMITTA, BROWNE, STREET, FONTANA, COSTA, CAPPELLETTI AND KEARNEY, APRIL 25, 2022

A RESOLUTION

Recognizing the week of April 22 through 30, 2022, as “International Dark Sky Week” in Pennsylvania.

WHEREAS, The welfare and enjoyment of this Commonwealth is associated with its character, including its dark skies ambiance at night; and

WHEREAS, Preserving and protecting the night sky enhances the use and enjoyment of property through the use of appropriate lighting practices; and

WHEREAS, Nighttime light pollution continues to increase, further presenting adverse impacts on all Pennsylvanians; and

WHEREAS, Pennsylvania values energy consumption reduction practices; and

WHEREAS, Sustainable outdoor lighting practices are desired to decrease the human impact on the environment; and

WHEREAS, Pennsylvanians can take action to reduce light pollution by considering the purpose of outdoor lighting, using the correct illumination level, limiting the duration of its use to legitimate need and choosing lights that emit lower amounts of harmful blue light into the nighttime environment; and

WHEREAS, Pennsylvanians can implement environmentally responsible techniques recommended by the International Dark-Sky Association to ensure that lighting has a clear purpose, is shielded and directed only to where needed, is no brighter than necessary, is used only when needed and consists of warmer color lights with lower Kelvin ratings; and

WHEREAS, Lighting replacement and improvement projects that incorporate these principles will save energy and money, greatly reduce light pollution and minimize wildlife disruption; and

WHEREAS, Implementation of best practice dark sky policies and continued education can make a significant difference in this Commonwealth; and

WHEREAS, The Senate recognizes that “International Dark Sky Week” highlights the importance of taking action to reduce light pollution to better protect Pennsylvanians and the environment; therefore be it

RESOLVED, That the Senate recognize the week of April 22 through 30, 2022, as “International Dark Sky Week” in Pennsylvania.

WCU Students Host a Celebration for the West Chester Green Team

 by Lucinda Bauman

One week after Earth Day, seven women from Dr. Kanan Sawyer’s Event Planning class at West Chester University hosted a celebration for the West Chester Green Team. The event boasted bright green decorations, fun activities, and inviting event hosts. Attendees made their way around Sykes Patio to the different stations.

Green cupcakes with a QR code leading to the Green Team web site enticed visitors

The first station was the plant pot decorating, where all were welcome to take home their own pot and seedling. Next, the attendees played a couple of rounds of sustainability trivia. After that, guests dug into some delicious Earth Day themed cupcakes.

Finally, the last station hosted a wall that attendees plastered with sticky notes that explained their ways of staying sustainable!

Personal statements: how to be sustainable in our daily lives, against a backdrop evoking beautiful Chester County

While the event lasted from just 10:00 – 11:00 am, it did an incredible job of raising awareness of sustainability practices and the West Chester Green Team to many West Chester students and residents alike. 

Thank you Dr. Kanan Sawyer and your students for this exceptional event! 

from decorating the pot…
…to adding the potting soil and seeds

                                            

Mondays at Everhart Park Sign-up Form

For more info, please email us here. Thank you for your interest! Please fill out below and click on “Send Form”

West Chester Porchfest a Great Success on May 21, 2022!

Saturday, May 21: music, dance, poetry on porches, food trucks, info tables, children’s activities, and more. Thanks to the dedicated organizers, performers, hosts, and others who made it all possible!

You can see the plans for the event–which actually came to pass exactly as foreseen!–here, including the logos of our Porchfest sponsors, whose support was essential to the cause.

See WC Porchfest’s own web site here and its Facebook page here.

Many performers, hosts and participants have posted photos, videos and appreciations on social media. Some noteworthy photos:

Enjoying the atmosphere
Porchfest street scene, by Michael
Michael Reaves performs, by Taka
Rev. Dan Schatz performing, by Geeta
BirlGirl face painting art

Plans for Porchfest 2022

Below is the information from the Green Team home page leading up to May 21. It all worked out as planned! And the weather, though hot, was not the impediment that rain would have been. The organizers all deserve a huge amount of credit for their hard work, resulting in a crowd many times the 250 we initially expected. Please continue to think kindly of the event sponsors whose logos are shown below. Now we are looking forward to the Second Annual West Chester Porchfest, in May 2023!

Let’s get ready for West Chester Porchfest May 21!

Saturday May 21: music, dance, poetry, food trucks, info tables, children’s activities, and more. Volunteer your porch, sponsor the event, or put it on your calendar to enjoy.

See the performance schedule and locations here.

We are planning a special occasion for you to come out to celebrate springtime and music. WCGT has partnered with Mayor Lillian DeBaptiste of West Chester Borough to sponsor this free fun family-oriented event on May 21 with performances and exhibits from S. Church St. to S. Bradford Ave and W. Miner to Dean St., and in Everhart Park.

Many neighbors have offered us their porches, and bands and solo performers have volunteered their talents. From jazz to Appalachian mountain folk music, from rock bands to Spanish guitar, we are offering something for everyone.  Food trucks and picnic tables at Ironworks Church and children’s activities at Everhart Park will add to the festivities. In case it rains, rain date is the 22nd.

Porchfest originated in Ithaca NY 15 years ago and has spread to dozens of communities across the country.  Neighbors meet neighbors as they stroll around listening to the music.  We are hoping to start a new community tradition. 

See Porchfest’s own web site here. Read all about it in the Daily Local News here.

Many thanks to our dedicated Porchfest sponsors:

The 2022 Porchfest poster, now a collector’s item:

Mondays at Everhart Park

West Chester Green Team invites children aged 5-10 to a free summer series of environmental and cultural readings and related activities. All events, by the play shed on the south side of Everhart Park, West Chester, start at 7pm.

Fill out online registration form here. Registrants will also fill out a waiver form. For more info email here. Planned schedule:

June 20–Week one–Planting activity–Summer reading books for kids to choose–Story–planting cress –books available for summer reading for the children. 

June 27–Week two–Endangered animals–reading–craft–animal mask making.  

July 5–Tuesday–Week three–Cooking with the Co-op–Book on growing/cooking veggies–making tacos.

July 11–Week four–Stories of India–focus on elephants–Indian food tasting. 

July 18–Week five–reading about stars with the Dark Sky Committee. Information on fireflies in dark skies.

July 25–Week 6–Plastic-Free Story– Leaf craft.  

August 1–Week 7–Tales of Jamaica–sea animals and Jamaican food tasting–Story–Craft. 

August 8–Week 8–Green party–Gelato and music– Farewell party–guitar–ice cream.

Email Mhudgings@gmail.com or call 610-692-3849 to register Photos are from 2021 Mondays at Melton.