Butterflies and Clean Water in Chocolatetown

Posted: June 6, 2016

GLS volunteers convened in the Hershey area to create a new pollinator conservation area with butterfly-friendly plants.
GLS volunteers working hard to eliminate invasive plants and improve the habitat

GLS volunteers working hard to eliminate invasive plants and improve the habitat

On April 16, 2016, Greening the Lower Susquehanna volunteers and other local partners gathered in Hershey to develop a new pollinator conservation area filled with butterfly-friendly native plants.

Over 100 volunteers worked to prepare 21 garden beds by removing grasses and non-native, invasive plants, and constructed a bed of fresh mulch and sprouting native plants. The field had previously been filled with invasive species, but volunteers worked together to remove over 2,000 square feet of the invasive species and planted natives that will help improve local wildlife habitat. The new combination of milkweed and other wildflowers will improve the habitat for monarch butterflies, bees, and other pollinators. In addition to the improved wildlife habitat, the new conservation area will also help improve local water quality. Moving forward, volunteers will continue to assist in maintenance of the site, while The Derry Environmental Action Committee will be the group primarily responsible for the site.

The Greening the Lower Susquehanna Volunteer Corps, coordinated by the Penn State Agriculture and Environment Center, has a robust following of environmentally concerned volunteers. Groups participating in the Hershey planting included girl and boy scout troops, Verizon Wireless employees, Hershey High School honors and environmental group clubs, Palmyra High School students, Manada Conservancy, Friends of Derry Township Parks and Recreation, and other local individuals and families.

This planting project is a coordinated effort of The Derry Township Environmental Action Committee, the Hershey Trust, and the Friends of Derry Township Parks and Recreation, the Hershey Gardens, and Manada Conservancy.

 A huge thank you to all who volunteered, and we encourage you to visit the pollinator conservation area along Cocoa Avenue.

By Hillary Yarger, AEC Assistant Project Coordinator