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Turnpike Wins Statewide Award for Pollinator Project

Home News Stories from the Turnpike Turnpike Wins Statewide Award for Pollinator Project

A new program that brought vibrant colors to the Pennsylvania Turnpike Central Office’s lawn and a few other locations was more than a landscaping choice. It was a way of creating valuable habitats for bees, moths, butterflies, beetles and other pollinating insects.

And now, the PA Turnpike and its consultant partner on the project, McCormack Taylor, have won a statewide award for the Pollinator Habitat Pilot Project.  

“It’s very nice to be receiving this award,” Turnpike Stormwater Management Specialist Jim Kaiser, who is heading up the project, said. “It shows the trend of where the Turnpike is going toward becoming America’s First Sustainable Superhighway by 2040.”

The Turnpike brought home the Diamond Award in Environmental Engineering from the American Council of Engineering Companies of Pennsylvania, recognizing these efforts to preserve Pennsylvania’s beauty while also benefitting the environment.

pollinator award

The pollinator project started two years ago with crews planting Pennsylvania-native flowering plant seeds at the Central Administration Building and several areas along the Turnpike. Instead of just an open grassy space, these areas have grown into lush Edens of bursting, colorful flowers and tangles of useful greenery, perfect for pollinators to live in and thrive during the spring and summer.

Kaiser’s background is that of a landscape architect, so his thoughts were always toward the aesthetic side of all things green, but this project turned things around, focusing more on the environment’s impact on animals furthering the Turnpike’s sustainability initiatives. And, as it turns out, it can still be appealing to the eye.

For Environmental Engineering Manager Nate Hoffman, it was good to see a pilot project pitched about five years ago turning into something so ecologically beneficial.

 “This project is near and dear to my heart,” Hoffman said. “My grandfather was a beekeeper for 85 years – he just passed away at 102 in 2022. I feel like we’re carrying on the legacy he, and many other beekeepers have fostered for many years.”  

In addition to the CAB, pollinator habitats have been established at the Hickory Run Service Plaza, Sidling Hill Salt Shed, as well as Harrisburg West, Bensalem and Irwin interchanges for a total of 16 acres of pollinator habitat so far. The program will be expanding to the Western Regional Office and the Allentown Service Plaza this year and will be incorporated into the new sections of the Mon/Fayette Expressway project, as well.

“I think it’s been a success story,” Kaiser said.

And it’s a success for more than an award. Now, bees, butterflies and other pollinators have found a new home at the PA Turnpike. 

pollinator award

Pictured above, award winners from the PA Turnpike and McCormack Taylor include (front row, from left) Tyson Clouser, Jim Kaiser, Angela Schreffler, Rick Shannon (back row, from left) Virginia Bailey, Nate Hoffman, Garrett Harris and Michael Maholick. Photo by MarJo Media.


 By Steve Marroni, Communications Specialist, Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission