The Chestnut Grove Foundation has awarded grants totaling $2000 to five local homeowners as part of its "Seeds of Sustainability" program. The program, now in its fifth year, rewards homeowners who have protected or conserved the natural resources on their properties. The recipients, two from Conestoga and one each from Millersville, Mountville and Lancaster, demonstrated conservation, sustainability and creativity in projects that ranged from mitigating erosion and providing natural habitats to reusing building materials and lowering energy consumption.
The $1000 award for "Exceptional" went to Heath and Melanie Hopstetter of Conestoga who deconstructed a dilapidated barn and reused in on site, resulting in enormous natural resource conservation, energy and cost savings. In addition to showing great creativity in integrating reused materials, they planted a native switch grass habitat for wildlife, stabilized a stream bank and displayed a strong land ethic and historical sensibility.
In the "Excellent" category, $500 was given to Charlie Worral and Lois Silver of Mountville, who successfully mitigated by 90% the erosion on their steep lot by planting plants with strong root systems. Additionally, they mentor neighborhood children about environmental values, use no chemicals in their yard, and have created a natural oasis with native plants that attract birds, butterflies and other pollinators.
Three homeowners earned "Meritorious" recognition with awards ranging from $125 to $250. Scott and Gail Taylor of Millersville, in addition to using an innovative cistern and onsite compost pile, significantly lowered their energy consumption by insulating windows, installing a geothermal heating/cooling system, using an EPA certified wood-burning stove, and a De Super heater that pre-warms household water.
Lisa Mercer of Lancaster practiced self- sufficiency by gardening/freezing/trading goods and services, does not use chemicals in her yard, uses rain barrels, and has creatively incorporated everyday items into her landscape design, providing many feeding stations and plant materials for birds and butterflies.
Final recognition went to Pamela Gigac of Conestoga, who planted over 65 trees to attract wildlife and put up nest boxes. In addition to composting, using rain barrels, and providing winter water for wildlife, she is a licensed turtle rehabilitator and provides shelter for native and non-native turtle species.
Chestnut Grove Foundation recently awarded $1000 to the Conestoga Elementary School PTO for a joint school and community environmental project. "The Conestoga Diggers Discovery Garden" aims to create a school garden/outdoor classroom where students can deepen their understanding and connection to the natural world through hands on experiential learning.
The outdoor classroom will include multiple raised beds used to grow vegetables, herbs, a variety of annual and perennial plants as well as a composting area, and small pond.
Community members will partner with school members to advance the common goal of understanding and caring for the ecosystem in which they reside. Research supports the use of school gardens to enhance academic achievement, promoting healthy lifestyles and encouraging community and social development.
To follow the progress of this innovative program check the blog:http://blogs.pennmanor.net/conestoga/outdoor-garden
In addition to its "Seeds of Sustainability" program and supporting the "Conestoga Digger's Discovery Garden", CGF underwrote the wild animal program by Jack Hubley as part of Washington Boro Society for Susquehanna River Heritage's "Heritage Days" and is currently supporting an Eagle Scout project in conjunction with the Lancaster Nature Conservancy. Finally, CGF has committed support for the Rail Trail in Manor Township.