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Pennsylvania state parks to help first-time campers gear up
DCNR is partnering with Gander Mountain to provide first-time campers with needed gear and a reservation for two nights at a participating state park for just $20.

“For a low price, we’re offering hands-on instruction on how to set-up camp; use of campsite gear; and the chance to have fun and create some fantastic family memories,” acting DCNR Secretary Rick Allan said. “Camping at a state park is an affordable vacation that comes complete with many opportunities to hike, fish, attend an educational program or just enjoy some solitude at our nationally-recognized state parks.”

Fourteen state parks around the state are participating in the program. Read more...

DCNR recognizes Chester County parks and recreation with second annual Green Park Award
DCNR is recognizing Chester County Parks and Recreation with the second annual Green Park Award for its oversight of Black Rock Sanctuary in Phoenixville. Read more...

Award presentations to highlight ‘Evening for Pennsylvania’s Environment’
Nominations are being sought for the Northeastern Pennsylvania Environmental Partnership Award and Thomas P. Shelburne Award, two prestigious environmental achievements to be honored at the Northeast Environmental Partners’ “21st Annual Evening for Pennsylvania’s Environment.” Read more...

High school students again vie for Envirothon honors
The 130-acre Shikellamy State Park will be drawing high school students from throughout the state to Snyder County late next month when the 28th annual Pennsylvania State Envirothon kicks off in a variety of outdoors classrooms nestled along the banks of the Susquehanna River. Read more...

Also in the News

Southwestern Pa. gearing up for annual ‘Great Outdoors Week’
Pedaling, paddling, sailing, climbing. All that and a lot more are planned next month in the Pittsburgh area when “Great Outdoors Week” (GOW) marks its 10th year, beginning Friday, May 13. Organized by Sustainable Pittsburgh and its outdoor recreation partners, Great Outdoors Week (GOW) provides the public with opportunities to participate in a variety of outdoor-related activities within a concentrated time frame. The week also highlights the parks, trails, waterways and many other outdoors amenities available in Southwestern Pennsylvania.

Outdoors groups throughout the region are planning GOW activities that feature cycling, climbing, running, sailing, and much more. Five signature events are part of GOW this year, beginning with the Dick’s Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon on Sunday, May 15. Rounding out the rest of the week:

  • Friday, May 20: National Bike to Work Day;
  • Friday, May 20: Learn to Row and Paddle;
  • Saturday, May 21: Venture Outdoors Festival;
  • Sunday, May 22: Pedal Pittsburgh
Over 60 GOW activities for all ages and skill levels are scheduled each year, promoting outdoor recreation as part of a healthy and sustainable community. Organizers tout outdoor recreation for its contributions to healthier lifestyles; attraction and retention of regional talent; a stronger local economy; and a sense of stewardship for regional parks, trails, and waterways. Outdoors groups planning special GOW activities are encouraged to list them at and help promote GOW by downloading the poster and linking to For more information on Great Outdoors Week, visit or call Sustainable Pittsburgh at (412) 258-6646.

Children’s drawings to create blueprint for new community playground in Erie
On April 27, the City of Erie, the Pennsylvania League of Cities and Municipalities, DCNR and organizers from national non-profit KaBOOM! hosted a playground Design Day for local area children. The Design Day, which accompanied the announcement of a new community playground for Erie, took place at Emerson-Gridley Elementary School.

At the Design Day, children from Erie put crayon to paper and drew their dream playgrounds, which will ultimately become a reality. Elements from the children’s drawings will be incorporated into the final design for the new community playground to be built on June 21 at Gridley Park by mayors and city officials from across the state in conjunction with the league’s 112th Annual Convention.

Volunteers for the playground build will be able to sign up online soon at Volunteers with questions can contact John Brenner at (717) 236-9469 or email.

Agency Spotlight

Rothrock State Forest
This section of the Ridge & Valley mountains are about as rugged as they come. Read more...

Upcoming Events

Bird Walk at Little Pine State Park
A Get Outdoors PA eventApril 30. Held 9:00 - 11:00 a.m. This interpretive walk will focus on bird identification, nesting habits, and habitat preferences. The trail passes through or borders several habitat types, so hopefully we will see a good variety of species. Binoculars will be available for use during the program. Waterproof boots are recommended. Meet at the shooting range parking lot. For more information, call (570) 753-6000.

Youth invited to explore outdoors at Keystone State Park
May 1. Held 11:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. at Keystone State Park. Sponsored by Westmoreland County Sportsmen’s League, along with the Pennsylvania Game Commission and DCNR, the park will be hosting a free youth day. Pennsylvania may be known as the Keystone State, but when you consider our mountains and valleys, streams and rivers, lakes and ponds, parks and forests, trails and hills; we should be known as the state of the great outdoors.

Children will be able to learn about boating safety, boating, orienteering, tree identification, rock climbing, ice fishing, field dogs demo, awards and much more. The event will provide parents and the children the opportunity to see what great wonders and recreational opportunities are available and how they can be accessed. For more information on the event, contact Deputy Wildlife Conservation Officer John Kozubal at (724) 744-7344.

"What’s so Special about the Hopewell Big Woods?" Educators’ Workshop
May 2. Held 8:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. at French Creek State Park. This one-day workshop, based on Environment and Ecology and Language Arts Standards, will introduce K-12 educators about the important plants, animals, places and people of the Hopewell Big Woods; the largest unbroken forest area in Southeastern Pa. This is a full day workshop that includes Act 48 credit hours and lunch for only $10. Space limited to 30, so sign up today. Online registration is available here. To request a pdf version of the registration form, or if you have questions, contact Jessica Sprajcar.

Interest groups, public encouraged to help build next Statewide Preservation Plan
May 4, 5 and 18; June 8 and 9. Trail and conservation organizations as well as the general public are encouraged to participate in an upcoming public forum, the feedback from which will help shape the new Statewide Historic Preservation Plan. The regional public forums will present the results of last year’s value survey and moderate a discussion to identify how to best preserve those values through the Commonwealth’s historic preservation-related programs.

The primary goal of the planning process is for the public to inform the Pennsylvania’s State Historic Preservation Office of what they value in their community in order to determine the preservation priorities of people who live and work in Pennsylvania. This plan will help the state identify, prioritize and address historic preservation needs over the course of the next five years. For more information, visit here, or contact Hannah Charlton at (717) 783-2698.

The remaining public forums:

  • May 4, 2011, 1:30-4 p.m. – Titusville. Northwest Commission Connect to Communities, Cross Creek Resort, 3815 State Route 8, Titusville. Conference registration is here
  • May 5, 2011, 1-4 p.m. - Moon Township. Municipal Building, 1000 Beaver Grade Road, Moon Township
  • May 18, 2011, 1:30-4:30 p.m. – Harrisburg. The State of the State Plenary Session, Statewide Conference on Heritage, PHMC State Museum, 300 North Street, Harrisburg. Registration here
  • June 8, 2011, 1-4 p.m. – Philadelphia. Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission, 190 N. Independence Mall West, 8th Floor, Philadelphia
  • June 9, 2011, 12:30-3:30 p.m. – Ambler. Ambler Theater 108 E. Butler Ave, Ambler, PA 19002

‘Native Plants Walk’ stepping off in Pike County
May 7. Renowned author and botanist Dr. Ann Rhoads will lead a native plants walk from 9 a.m. until noon at the Akenac Park property, Dingmans Ferry, Delaware Township, Pike County. Questions are welcomed and visitors are invited to join Dr. Rhoads and others for light refreshments at an “Open House” marking a 5-year anniversary celebration of the Pike County Scenic Rural Character Preservation Program. The events are free and open to the public, but registration is requested. For reservations and directions, contact the Delaware Highlands Conservancy Office at (570) 226-3164.

Support for the event is provided by the Delaware Highlands Conservancy, Pike County Scenic Rural Character Preservation Program, DCNR, Delaware Township and the USDA Forest Service’s Grey Towers National Historic Site.

River Towns workshop offered
May 23 and June 28. Both workshops are held 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. at PPL Montour Preserve Environmental Education Center Auditorium in Danville, Montour County. The SEDA-COG Community Resource Center and the Susquehanna Greenway Partnership are presenting a workshop series geared towards river towns as part of the River Towns – Phase II: Discovering Middle Susquehanna Valley River Towns project. The workshops are designed to provide information for river towns to decide each one’s unique course as it prepares for the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. The registration form can be downloaded here. Multiple spaces are available if more than one person from your organization should choose to attend. The cost of each individual workshop is $15. Follow the RSVP schedule below in order to allow us to accommodate for lunch. Contact Becky Digan at (570) 524-4491.

Sustainable Landscapes Bus Tour Returns to the Lehigh Valley
June 15. Township officials, landscape architects, planners, educators, park managers, and others—come see eight great examples of ways to plan and manage land in a healthier, more environmentally friendly way while saving money! The tour kicks off at 8 a.m. at Emmaus Community Park. Two busses will then depart for sustainable sites around Lehigh County including: Wildlands Conservancy Pool Wildlife Sanctuary, Jordan Creek Greenway, Ironton Rail Trail, Lehigh Gap Nature Center, Trexler Nature Preserve, Edge of the Woods Native Plant Nursery and Penn’s Meadow. These sites highlight native plantings, natural stormwater management, energy efficiencies and more.

For just $35 you will receive breakfast, lunch, a spot on the bus and handouts. Registration materials and information are available here. Only 100 seats will be available, so register early. For more information about the event, or to inquire about sponsorships, call Cammy at (610) 391-9583 ext. 22.

2011 Sustainable Landscapes Bus Tour to motor through Lancaster County
May 23. Township officials, landscape architects, planners, educators, park managers, and others—come see six great examples of ways to plan and manage land in a healthier, more environmentally friendly way while saving money! The tour kicks off at 7:30 a.m. at the Farm and Home Center in Lancaster with a continental breakfast and keynote presentations. Two busses will then depart for sustainable sites around Lancaster County including: Schaeffer Elementary School, Warwick Township Building, Mummau Park, Santo Domingo development, Ethel Swan Park and Raymark (a former industrial site), and Brubaker Farm. These sites highlight native plantings, natural stormwater management, energy efficiencies, and more.

The bargain price of the bus tour is $25 which includes breakfast, lunch, a spot on the bus and handouts. Registration materials are available here. Only 100 seats will be available, so register early. For more information about the event, call Jessica at (717) 214-7511.

April 27, 2011

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