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    Meet the SustainPHL Nominees: Neighborhood Champion

    This nominee is making a difference on a micro level (neighborhood engagement, block captain, etc.) and his/her/their efforts could be unrecognized.

    In August, Philadelphia’s SustainPHL Awards will highlight and celebrate these community change makers. Join us to celebrate these visionaries and announce the recipient at the SustainPHL Awards on August 3rd at WHYY!

    Sustainphl NEIGHBORHOOD CHAMPION Nominees 2017

    • Dennis Barnebey
    • Naida Elena Burgos
    • Seth Budick

    Dennis BarnebeyDennis Barnebey

    As a Philadelphia School District teacher and Southwest Germantown resident, Dennis Barnebey helped facilitate a community project and educate students.

    Dennis’ efforts have breathed new life into John B. Kelly Elementary School through the Kelly Green Project. The Kelly Green Project has taken on revitalizing the large and mostly unused schoolyard around the John B. Kelly School in southwest Germantown to help it become a welcoming green. His leadership led to the creation of a community garden at the school used to educate students, feed neighbors, and bond community members to each other. His work has also led to the creation of a “pocket meadow,” with pollinators which will be used to expose students to the diversity found in an ecosystem located right on their property.

    Dennis partnered with the Audubon Society to provide free educational opportunities for Kelly students. His dedication to this project has brought much-needed resources into the school as well. A volunteer librarian and student teachers from local universities are now devoting their time to enriching the lives of Kelly students within the school thanks to Dennis’ outreach work. This large public school space in the middle of our neighborhood offers healthy learning and play for all families and kids.

    Naida Elena Burgos

    Naida BurgosNaida Elena Burgos is the former Neighborhood Advisory Committee Coordinator at the Asociación Puertorriqueños en Marcha where she promoted health, greening, crime prevention, beautification, community cohesion and understanding of climate change affects in Philadelphia. Her role has been to serve as a liaison between community residents and City agencies and to increase meaningful connections among community stakeholders.

    When Burgos became involved with the Philly CUSP group, she understood the impact of climate change and environment in her community. When she realized the residents she served are those facing the highest health risks due to climate change and environmental stressors in Philadelphia, it became her passion not only for helping educate residents but also for bringing in the city and partners together.

    Over the past five years, Burgos has reached over 3,000 residents, supported 4 gardens and 20 tree plantings, educated over 100 children and 200 residents with community greening workshops and clean ups. From distributing climate change newsletters, education and more, she’s been a neighborhood advocate.

    Seth Budick

    Seth Budick

    Seth Budick is a resident and has worked at University City District  (UCD) since 2008 where his role, when not running The Dirt Factory, is as Senior Manager, Policy and Research. UCD is a partnership of institutions, small businesses, and residents that have a primary mission of community revitalization. 

    Budick has passions for reducing the amount of organic waste, local food and creating a beautiful public realm. He helped create the Dirt Factory, a free community composting facility in University City that combines the neighborhood’s fallen leaves with organic food waste (dropped off by area residents) to generate high-quality compost that’s distributed for free to neighborhood gardeners, and used in University City’s landscaped public spaces.

    In addition to reducing waste and producing compost, Dirt Factory has significantly improved the public realm by replacing an overgrown and blighted lot with an attractive facility. Since it began 4 years ago, the Dirt Factory has produced roughly 35 tons of compost and currently serves about 485 households. The Dirt Factory also hosts many tours and workshops for community and school groups.


    Join us for SustainPHL on August 3rd to find out who will become the 2017 Activist of the Year recipient!

    Julie Hancher

    About Julie Hancher

    Julie Hancher is Editor-in-Chief of Green Philly, sharing her expertise of all things sustainable in the city of brotherly love. She enjoys long walks in the park with local beer and greening her travels, cooking & cat, Sir Floofus Drake.

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