Slippery Rock in Bloom participating in national competition this year
An environmental program formed by the Slippery Rock Rotary will again compete in a national contest that helps improve the look of municipalities.
Fifteen volunteers with Slippery Rock in Bloom gathered in late May to plant nearly 1,000 plants in Memorial Park — near the community library — at Holmes Corner, and in 22 large pots located throughout the community.
The efforts lead up to a visit from America in Bloom judges in July, where Slippery Rock is compared to other communities across the nation.
America in Bloom is an organization that aims to form connections between communities and their environments. Each year, America in Bloom holds a competition known as the National Awards Program. Winners receive recognition for their efforts in impacting their communities in positive ways.
The last time Slippery Rock in Bloom participated in the competition was in 2018, and the borough was awarded first place for communities of its size.
Much like America in Bloom, Slippery Rock in Bloom works closely with the community to help make the town a better place for its people and environment.
Regina Greenwald, coordinator of Slippery Rock in Bloom, provided some insight into how the competition works.
“The judges come and judge what you do and you can earn rewards for different things,” Greenwald said. “When you compete in America in Bloom, you have to participate in all seven categories.”
She cited floral impact and urban forestry as two examples of these categories. These categories pertain to the welfare of the environment and the community.
Greenwald noted how America in Bloom served as inspiration for Slippery Rock in Bloom. The program was founded in 2011 by Jeff Berta and Judy Hughes after Berta discovered America in Bloom.
“We started out with calling this project ‘Redding Up the Town,’” said Greenwald. “When you go to Slippery Rock, and go to community park and other areas, you can find red tulips everywhere.”
In 2022, Slippery Rock in Bloom planted up to 10,000 tulips. Greenwald said the tulips are great for graduation pictures since they bloom in May.
While the tulips may be beautiful, Greenwald explained that it’s not just the flowers that bring improvements to the community.
“The flowers are the eye candy,” Greenwald said. “It’s the other projects that improve the health and well-being of the community. It’s about the health and safety of the community. It’s about landscaping and using appropriate fertilizer and pesticides.”
Greenwald said the program is able to achieve so much with the help of the community.
“We ask the community for community support,” Greenwald said. “We have companies that support us like Armstrong and Sheetz. We have students do activities like watering, weeding and mulching.”
Greenwald added that Slippery Rock Development was also a big supporter of the program.
“Every member of the community is an important person,” Greenwald said. “It’s just people in the community who help out.”
Slippery Rock in Bloom has planted flowers and greenery all over Slippery Rock.
Greenwald mentioned the park as a notable place to find these plants, saying, “If you drive into town, when you pass the post office and the university, you will find the park. We have about 600 plants in that park alone.”
The flowers have greatly improved tourism in the town, Greenwald said.
“We’ve had parents come to Slippery Rock who said, ‘The town never looked like this when I was a student here,’” Greenwald recalled. “’It never looked so good.’”