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EPA Employee-volunteers are Working Fast and Furious on EPA’s 2009 Philadelphia Flower Show Exhibit

Release Date: 02/17/2009
Contact Information: Donna Heron 215-814-5113 /

PHILADELPHIA (February 17, 2009) – There are only two more weeks before the 2009 Philadelphia Flower Shows opens. By March 1 every plant, tree and blade of grass must be in place to welcome the 250,000 visitors who come each year.

In the EPA’s mid-Atlantic region, these last few weeks are hectic as Jeff Lapp, Todd Lutte and their dedicated band of more than 30 volunteers make final preparations to construct this year’s exhibit.

But plans and blueprints can only go so far. Nothing can actually get constructed or planted until Monday, Feb. 23. That’s the earliest EPA and the other exhibitors can get access to the Philadelphia Convention Center.

And right now – just as they have since the 2008 flower show exhibit was dismantled – flowers and plants are being forced in the greenhouse located at Lapp’s Hilltown, Pa., home.

“We’ve got 75 plant species we are in the process of forcing including 30 that we’ve never worked with before,” said Lapp. “Right now we are keeping our fingers crossed that everything blooms when it’s supposed to.”

EPA has been exhibiting at the annual flower show since 1993 and uses the opportunity to educate gardeners on techniques that protect the environment and at the same time create beautiful gardens. This year many of the materials used were recycled from previous award-winning exhibits. The display also featured stunning garden ornaments that were easy to make and used inexpensive materials.

EPA’s 2009 exhibit is entitled “L’acqua e vita La vita e acqua.” Or “Water is Life, Life is Water.” The life of a watershed begins with the birth of a stream. And EPA’s exhibit will help educate the public about the value of wetlands.

“Most people don’t even think about wetlands,” Lapp said. “If they do, they think of it as a squishy wet area. People don’t realize that the squishy wet area is teeming with life.”

Although best known for being home to water lilies, turtles, frogs, snakes, alligators, and crocodiles, they also provide important habitat for waterfowl, fish and mammals. Migrating birds – the ones that still migrate – use wetlands to rest and feed during their cross-continental journeys and as nesting sites. The loss of wetlands due to construction and development has had a series impact on all these species. And habitat degradation since the 1970s has been a leading cause of species extinction.

Look for EPA’s exhibit at the 2009 Philadelphia Flower Show. EPA’s employee-volunteers will be happy to answer any questions you have. In the meantime, go to for environmentally-friendly landscaping advice.