First Lady Frances Wolf Outlines Waterway Protection Efforts Under Way at Governor’s Residence During Earth Day Gathering

April 24, 2017

Harrisburg, PA – With the expansive waters of a challenged Susquehanna flowing directly behind her, First Lady Frances Wolf today told a gathering of students and top environmental leaders protection of the iconic waterway is an ongoing priority at the Governor’s Residence in Harrisburg.

Two days after Governor Wolf proclaimed Earth Day 2017 on April 22, the First Lady announced plans are under way on the residence grounds at 2035 North Front Street, Harrisburg, to lessen storm-water runoff by installing and maintaining a rain garden and additional rain-collection barrels, and enhancing existing green features.

“Taken alone, none of these steps is monumental, but collectively they reflect the will and the theme of Governor Wolf’s Earth Day proclamation — ‘The Difference YOU Can Make,’” said the First Lady. “We have some of the state’s top environmental leaders gathered here today, but they can accomplish only so much without an individual environmental commitment by all of us.”

Mrs. Wolf publicly commended the 30 students and several teachers from nearby St. Stephen’s Episcopal School, noting they have demonstrated environmental awareness by participating in the residence event and dedicating this week to Earth Day 2017-related field trips.

“You have demonstrated your commitment to our state’s wealth of woods and waters at a young age, and I commend you,” the First Lady said. “Feel free to ask questions of the environmental leaders gathered here today about what you see and hear. Hopefully, some of you will be inspired to follow in their footsteps.”

Joining the Harrisburg school group and First Lady Wolf were Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn; Department of Environmental Protection Acting Secretary Patrick McDonnell; Department of General Services Secretary Curt Topper; and Harry Campbell, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Office, Chesapeake Bay Foundation.

“These enhancements of the residence grounds are directly in line with DCNR’s ongoing efforts to protect our waterways, such as expanding forest buffers along streams and rivers,” said Dunn. “When properly installed and maintained, all are indicative of what individual home and property owners can do to curb runoff into waterways; control erosion; and improve the quality of our wealth of waterways, such as the nearby Susquehanna River.”

“Pollution from storm water runoff is the next great challenge to our streams and rivers. Reducing it is one of DEP’s highest priorities,” said McDonnell. “As citizens step up to make a difference, DEP is working with municipal leaders to do the same with comprehensive storm water management plans.”

“During Governor Wolf’s Administration, the commonwealth has taken many steps towards jumpstarting the restoration of Pennsylvania’s rivers and streams, said Campbell. “The Governor and First Lady are clearly demonstrating that here at the governor’s residence, on the banks of the Susquehanna River, which is the largest source of freshwater entering the Chesapeake Bay. As every Pennsylvanian has a stake in having clean water, the rain garden, rain barrels and enhanced green features at the governor’s residence set the example that we all can contribute. We commend Governor and Mrs. Wolf for their leadership and commitment to clean water.”

Penn State student Zoe Roane-Hopkins will join DCNR’s Landscape Design Section as an intern this summer to oversee planning, design and maintenance of the residence rain garden.

Residence staff will provide materials, funding for plantings and equipment assistance for preparing and planting.

DCNR plans to conduct an analysis of the site, looking at drainage, soils, solar orientation, and utilities, and determine the best area for a rain garden.  Areas with drainage issues or wash-outs would be likely locations.

Details on the benefits of rain gardens and rain barrels, suggested plantings and other information can be found at

Built on the Susquehanna River, the Pennsylvania Governor’s Residence is a two and one-half story Georgian Style home. Designed by architect George Ewing and completed in 1968, the 28,600-square-foot building has 32 rooms. It has served as home to eight governors and their families.

The first floor of the residence serves as a museum, housing both temporary and permanent art exhibits, decorative art, and artifacts reflecting the rich history and cultural heritage of the commonwealth. The second floor historically served as private living quarters for the Governor and First Lady.

American and Pennsylvania flags were first raised at the executive mansion in February 1969, and the first tour-day was in June of that same year.

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