Andy Paling has been a leader of the Friends of Canard River for close to 15 years. In fact, he was one of the group’s founding members, and continues to generate enthusiasm and excitement for stewardship among his fellow members and across the watershed. Andy has also shared his keen interest in the natural world with his students at St. Thomas of Villanova High School for the past 25 years, with a teaching focus in horticulture, environmental science, and green industries. In the early days, many of the Friends of Canard River’s cleanup and restoration efforts were substantially implemented by Andy and his students.
Andy has also fostered schoolyard greening efforts among Villanova’s feeder schools, namely St. Joseph and Sacred Heart Elementary. He initiated a butterfly reserve at the high school, inviting students from all levels to learn about butterflies, native plants, and other pollinators. The butterfly reserve has been designated as a ‘Waystation’ by Monarch Watch. Additionally, Andy has established a vegetable garden at Villanova, donating the food to local food banks.
Throughout his teaching career, Andy has inspired new generations of environmentalists to care about and take action for the protection and restoration of our environment. For his dedication, enthusiasm and leadership, we are pleased to recognize Andy as a Conservation Champion.