Thursday, May 19, 2022

Governor Honors PennDOT, DEP Employees For Developing Pennsylvania’s Litter Action Plan

On May 19, Gov. Tom Wolf presented a group of employees from the Department of Transportation and the Department of Environmental Protection with Governor’s Awards for Excellence, in recognition of their efforts to develop the first-ever
Pennsylvania Litter Action Plan.

Through coordination with over 100 stakeholders, the employees spearheaded the development of an actionable plan with the goal to shift the focus of Pennsylvania’s response to litter from cleanup to prevention. 

The plan includes resources and suggestions for the General Assembly, state agencies, local governments, and the public.

The honorees are:

-- Jessica Shirley, former Policy Director, DEP;

-- Kate Cole, Policy Director, DEP;

-- Natasha Fackler, former Policy Director, PennDOT; and

-- Emily Watts, former Executive Policy Specialist, PennDOT.

PennDOT spends roughly $14 million each year on litter cleanup statewide, and DEP has funded “Pick Up Pennsylvania” community litter cleanups and illegal dump site cleanups for over two decades, supporting volunteers in removing many tons of trash from the land and waters. 

“It’s clear that in order to truly see less litter in Pennsylvania, we need to focus on getting people not to litter in the first place,” said PennDOT Secretary Yassmin Gramian. “The Litter Action Plan provides real solutions that can be implemented at the state, local, and individual level to help make a cleaner Pennsylvania for all of us. I'm so proud of the work that this team has done to develop this plan.”

“This award is very well deserved and represents the work that this team has done to keep the Keystone State litter free,” said DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell. “This plan is needed because of the growing – and frankly disgusting – problem of litter polluting our lands and waters. The Litter Action Plan sets us on a path to a cleaner, more beautiful Pennsylvania.”

The persistence of littering prompted PennDOT and DEP to partner with Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful to conduct the first comprehensive state study to inform development of the Litter Action Plan, with a focus on changing littering behavior. 

“It is my privilege to congratulate the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and Pennsylvania Department of Transportation for their vital and mission-based work to develop the state’s first ever Litter Action Plan,” said Shannon Reiter, President of Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful. “The plan’s blueprint for implementing preventive measures and behavior changing strategies to reduce littering in Pennsylvania will benefit and positively impact the health, safety and beauty of whole communities all across the Commonwealth.”

DEP identifies many ways Pennsylvanians can be anti-litter

PennDOT provides litter information and many additional litter cleanup volunteer opportunities, including Adopt-A-Highway, Litter Brigades, and more on its Roadside Beautification webpage.

The Governor’s Awards for Excellence recognize exemplary job performance or service that reflects initiative, leadership, innovation and increased efficiency. 

The PennDOT and DEP team were among 50 employees from 12 state agencies honored by Gov. Wolf for exceptional accomplishments in 2021.

The Governor’s Award for Excellence was created in 2002 by Gov. Schweiker to recognize state employees involved in the successful rescue of nine coal miners trapped in the flooded Quecreek Mine in Somerset County.

For more information on programs, initiatives and special events, visit the Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful website. Click Here to become a member.  Click Here to sign up for regular updates from KPB, Like them on Facebook, Follow on Twitter, Discover them on Pinterest and visit their YouTube Channel.

Also visit the Illegal Dump Free PA website for more ideas on how to clean up communities and keep them clean and KPB’s Electronics Waste website.

The 2022 Pick Up Pennsylvania Initiative will be held through May 31.  Questions should be directed to Michelle Dunn at 1-877-772-3673 Ext. 113 or send email to:

Keep PA Beautiful helps mobilize over 100,000 volunteers a year to pick up litter, clean up illegal dumping and beautify Pennsylvania.


-- TribLive: Students Receive Scholarships From Penn Hills Anti-Litter Group 

-- Warren Times: Dozens Help In Allegheny Reservoir Cleanup

Related Article:

-- Keep PA Beautiful/PennDOT: Opening Young Ambassadors Program For High School Students In August 

[Posted: May 19, 2022]  PA Environment Digest

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