Wildlife Habitat at Waste Management of PA

Wildlife Habitat and Environmental Education

Waste Management has a long history in Falls Township and Tullytown Borough, Bucks County. Several lines of business are operated on the property including recreation, municipal solid waste disposal, recycling, composting, mining, and shipping.

Sustainability at Waste Management is comprehensive and addresses everything from our people, infrastructures and systems and natural resources. Approximately 60% of the 6000-acre property is comprised of lakes and natural lands on the migration path of birds and monarch butterflies—meadows, forests, wetlands and recreational areas. Conservation and stewardship guide our land management, plant diversity and wildlife protection to ensure biodiversity and sustainability.

Waste Management launched its business and education program in the mid-1990’s to support our belief that our properties and operations could extend environmental education beyond the walls of the classroom. We worked closely with the PA Department of Education to understand the State Environment and Ecology Standards and with their support, developed an environmental education outreach program. For close to 25 years, we made presentations and hosted teachers’ workshops that offered opportunities to extend learning about recycling, landfill technology, renewable energy, wetlands, water quality and watersheds, integrated pest management.   This collaborative program proved to be a successful vehicle for advancing the importance of biodiversity, conservation and environmental protection.

On October 23, 1994, William Penn’s 350th birthday was celebrated with much fanfare both in Philadelphia and here in Bucks County. Festivities at Pennsbury Manor included a proclamation ceremony, house tours, demonstrations, open-hearth cooking and blacksmith, theater performances and of course, a birthday cake. As a Community Partner of the Manor, Waste Management wanted to support and contribute to the celebration. The Manor’s horticulturist and Master Gardener Charlie Thomforde came up with the perfect idea. He suggested that Waste Management establish the William Penn Forest, a reforestation project along the road leading to Pennsbury Manor. We invited the Pennsbury School District’s Penn Valley Elementary School fourth grade students to plant the trees because it reinforced their learning about William Penn and life during his time. The selection of trees planted was based upon research of species noted in William Penn’s writings.   “The trees of most note are the black walnut, cedar, cypress, chestnut, poplar, gumwood, hickory, sassafras, ash, beech, and oak of divers sorts, as red, white, and black, Spanish, chestnut, and swamp,” William Penn boasted a few years after Kin Charles II presented him with the Pennsylvania Colony. (Philadelphiaencyclopedia.org)

In early October of that year, a grassy site that offered habitat and wildlife value, was developed into a woodland and named, William Penn Forest. 71 of the 73 trees planted are host to butterflies and pollinators. A sign was installed as a constant reminder of the 350th birthday celebration as visitors passed on their way to Pennsbury Manor and the area became a part of WMPA’s Wildlife Habitat Certification project.

Unfortunately, there has not been a sign since it was destroyed during Hurricane Sandy and the trees in the forest were overgrown by vines. Thanks to Ginger McAllister and her Penn Warner Club crew, the area was cleared of vines and debris.   Charlie Thomforde joined Judy Archibald to identify each tree so that future educational opportunities can be provided at the Forest. Through a PA EITC grant made from Waste Management to the Pennsbury Foundation, teachers Jessica Perfetto and Rick Stellwagen were able to purchase a laser engraving machine for their class. Together with, and as a teaching opportunity for the students, a new sign was constructed so that the Forest could once again recognize William Penn and his 350th birthday.

On June 25th, Community Partners Doug Miller, Pennsbury Manor’s Executive Director and Ann Langtry, Pennsbury School District’s Supervisor of Communication Strategies joined Waste Management’s employees, friends and families came together during Pollinator Partnership Celebration Week to dedicate the new sign—now the year of William Penn’s 375th birthday!