News for Immediate Release

April 19, 2011

DCNR Recognizes Chester County Parks and Recreation with Second Annual Green Park Award

Harrisburg – The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources is recognizing Chester County Parks and Recreation with the second annual Green Park Award for its oversight of Black Rock Sanctuary in Phoenixville. The award honors excellence in both efforts to connect people to nature and in sustainable park practices.

“Chester County’s challenge when it purchased the 120-acre sanctuary was to convert a former wasteland basin into an educational environmental park,” DCNR Deputy Secretary Cindy Dunn said. “The park boasts restored and improved wetlands, a trail for environmental education, and many of the features in the park are made with recycled materials.

“Our award recognizes the county for meeting its goals for sustainability while creating a park where residents and visitors can play, learn and appreciate the natural world,” Dunn said.

When Chester County acquired the sanctuary in 1997, the land contained significant quantities of coal silt dredged from the Schuylkill River. The county took the following steps:

“Our award-winner is an excellent example for other communities that want to make their parks great assets to their residents for healthy activity, as models of how to conserve and as a place for people to connect with nature,” Dunn said.

The award is co-sponsored by the Pennsylvania Recreation and Park Society. Dunn will participate in a special tree planting and commemorative marker ceremony at the park on April 21 at 1 p.m.

The nominations were judged on their efforts to implement a number of green and sustainable park principles including minimizing disturbance of existing areas; natural landscaping principles; managing stormwater naturally; connecting people to nature; and integrating energy conservation and green design and construction practices.

Black Rock Sanctuary is located along the Atlantic Coast Flyway, which provides breeding and nesting habitat for migratory waterfowl.

For more information on DCNR’s Green and Sustainable Park Initiative, visit

Media contact: Christina Novak, 717-772-9101.