Rose Valley Borough is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year. We started as an Arts and Crafts workshop and social experiment by the architect William Lightfoot Price and incorporated as a Borough in 1923. Organizations across the Borough are hosting events this year to celebrate our unique heritage and the strong community that exists here today.
The Rose Valley EAC is commemorating the centennial by sponsoring a series of community conversations and educational events to focus on our next 100 years. We are calling it Rose Valley Next 100: Crafting our Sustainable Future. (https://www.rosevalleyborough.org/rvnext100)
Our mission is to engage Rose Valley residents on what a sustainable future means to them, looking for ways in which we can:
- Meet residents and borough-located organizations “where they are” in order to identify sustainability and environmentalism initiatives that would get the most engagement from the community;
- Learn ways in which the EAC and Borough Council can better support our residents in their personal efforts to live a more sustainable lifestyle;
- Create opportunities for collaboration between residents, the EAC, the Borough Council, HOAs, neighborhood groups, and local organizations (our school, pool, museum, theatre, and a social club that owns a historic building);
- Educate residents around what our EAC identified as being our biggest environment risks – climate change, vanishing biodiversity, and stormwater runoff;
- Drive traffic to Borough and EAC communication channels in order to increase our reach for our educational efforts;
- Plug residents into the sustainability efforts underway in our region and by our neighboring municipalities, like the Delco Zero Waste initiative highlighted at the We Conserve PA conference this spring, our local watershed association, etc.…; and,
- Engage residents who want to get involved but have not yet had a way to volunteer thus far by creating new volunteer opportunities.
We started the year with a community forum to hear what residents think of when they envision a sustainable borough. Here are the notes from that meeting: https://www.rosevalleyborough.org/post/rose-valley-next-100-crafting-our-sustainable-future-notes-from-the-kick-off-community-forum. One of the take-aways from that forum was that residents love and worry about our trees. In response, the EAC approached residents who had raised their hands at the forum to help manage English Ivy. We asked if they would be willing to form a local group of the Tree Tenders organization. They said yes! We already have 3 certified tree tenders, with 2 more almost through their certification. The group’s first project will be a community-wide English Ivy cutting campaign this Arbor Day weekend, April 29th and 30th. The EAC recommended to Borough Council, who unanimously voted in support, that we name Arbor Day weekend “Rose Valley Free the Trees Weekend” in order to underscore the importance of the campaign. Tree Tenders will be providing community training on the proper removal and disposal of English Ivy and leading groups of volunteers on Borough property to Free the Trees. Tree Tenders will also be supporting organizations who want to host member events to do the same. The School in Rose Valley, the Hedgerow Theatre, and the Rose Valley Museum at Thunderbird Lodge are participating. Our goal is 100 trees freed in honor of the centennial – “100 Years, 100 Trees.”
In March, the EAC hosted a waste management forum to educate on the climate impact of waste and to engage residents on our waste management strategy, with a focus on recycling and community composting. As a result of this forum, our borough council has info about resident sentiment that they felt they needed in order to make decisions about our recycling program, and our local school will be opening their composting program to Rose Valley residents who can’t compost on their own. Here are the notes: https://www.rosevalleyborough.org/post/rose-valley-recycles-and-composts.
In April, we hosted our annual native plant sale, a joint effort between the Rose Valley EAC and the Gardeners of Rose Valley. At the sale, we did a native shrub give-away thanks to the Keystone Ten Million Trees Partnership and had informational tables about rain gardens, Free the Trees, and non-chemical mosquito management. We all but sold out in 2 hours. The remaining red oaks will be planted in our preserves.
Our next endeavor is a celebration of our preserves, with a work-day in May, and a ribbon-cutting of our new trail markers in June. We are working on field bags for families who attend the June event and plan to make resources available to families who want to enjoy the preserves on their own time, like a scavenger hunt of remarkable trees and geological features.
We are investigating a child-centered event in July to focus on our local streams and watershed. Ideally this will lead into a community conversation in August about stormwater runoff and areas of flooding in the Borough to kick off our education campaign about stormwater management. We will do a tree and shrub give-away in the fall to residents who want to reclaim some lawn or add some runoff control through plantings.
Throughout the year, we are encouraging residents to join our Community Wildlife Habitat endeavor. https://www.rosevalleyborough.org/certifiedwildlifehabitatproject.
At the January forum, neighbors also mentioned light and noise pollution, so I think our fall programming will be around dark skies and “leave the leaves” to address climate impact of gas-powered leaf blowers, the protection of nocturnal wildlife by managing artificial lighting, and the benefits to insects of not clearing beds in the fall.
We will be closing with a year-end celebration to review what we learned, highlight our successes, and discuss where we go from here.
Thank you for this the chance to brag about our little Borough a bit. The Borough’s only paid staff are two part-time office managers, and the rest of the Borough’s work is performed by volunteers from its 1200 residents – people who love this place and those who live here. We are proud of the work we are doing, especially considering our size. Here’s to our next 100!