Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Sustainable Cheltenham Award Given to Coach Danelle at Arts in the Park 2018

On Sunday, June 10 at Arts in the Park, Danelle Witkowski took home a Sustainable Cheltenham award for her commitment to healthy living, mobility, ecological stewardship and community engagement, which are 4 key pillars of Cheltenham Township's
Sustainability Plan.

Danelle accepted the award from Kurt Ahrens, Cheltenham's Environmental Advisory Council Chairman and Cheltenham Township Commissioner Anne Rappoport. She was nominated for the award by John Raisch, Cheltenham's Environmental Advisory Council Vice-Chair.

Award Nomination Letter

Danelle Witkowski exemplifies what it means to be steward of sustainable living.

To start, Danelle both lives AND works in Cheltenham which means her profession contributes directly to our local township. It also means she travels a short distance getting to work making her commute less impactful on the environment. To say that she "works" in our township is an understatement -- Danelle is a teacher and reading specialist at Cedarbrook. There she helps students with reading, and teaches other life-skills to some of the most impressionable in the township.

Danelle is an avid outdoors-woman. Her enthusiasm and commitment to nature, the outdoors and an active lifestyle is prevalent in everything she does. Danelle loves cycling -- both for recreation and for transportation. She regularly commutes to school by bicycle. In May of 2017 Danelle engaged her students on Bicycle To Work Day and challenged them to ride their bicycle to school, an activity once done regularly in generations past. Danelle's cycling offer to her students was extremely well received by her classroom and on that day had 15 students take her up on her offer. In doing so the school district acknowledged her accomplishment in a news article published shortly thereafter. The story was also picked up by a local newspaper publication in July of last summer.

To further demonstrate her commitment to the outdoors and education combined, Danelle takes her teaching skills to-the-trails and coaches for a local youth mountain bike team - SoMont Cycling Youth MTB Team. There, she instructs and trains youth athletes about cycling skills and endurance, readying them for competitive off-road mountain bike racing. Her commitment to the cycling team is a testament to her outlook on cycling as a lifelong athletic interest.

Danelle is also an environmental steward and caretaker of the trail networks in which she rides. She regularly spends her time in Pennypack & Wissahickon Parks participating in trail maintenance and clean up days, working to improve trails and make then more sustainable.

Additionally, Danelle is a newly titled member of Trek Bicycle's Woman's Advocacy Program, further demonstrating her desire to help our community, and particularly women and girls, develop cycling as a lifelong athletic interest.

Of the many goals encompassed by Cheltenham's Sustainability Plan, specifically Mobility, Healthy Living, Ecological Stewardship and Community Engagement,  I would like to nominate Danelle for a 2018 Sustainable Cheltenham Award.

Congratulations to Danelle for being a Sustainable Cheltenham 2018 Award winner!