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Gov. Corbett declares March 16-22 Wildfire Prevention Week
Governor Tom Corbett has proclaimed March 16-22 as Wildfire Prevention Week in Pennsylvania, noting drying March winds and warming temperatures quickly can combine to increase fire dangers across Pennsylvania’s forests and brush lands.

“Much of our state woodlands still may have snow cover but one only has to look back to last spring to see how quickly brush and forest fires can spring up when sun and wind prevail,” Corbett said. “Most of the more than 630 reported fires last year are linked to people; people cause 98 percent of wildfires. A mere spark by a careless person can touch off a devastating forest blaze during dry periods when conditions enable wildfires to spread quickly.”

"Common sense can limit the threat of wildfires and can aid the brave men and women who serve as volunteer forest firefighters of our community volunteer fire companies and the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources,” the governor said. Read more...

Pennsylvania loses conservation champion
Pennsylvanian's lost a champion for conservation and our public lands this month with the passing of Art Davis, former Secretary of the Department of Environmental Resources and the first professor to hold the Goddard Chair of Forestry at Penn State. Read more...

South Mountain Speaker Series to feature four lectures in 2014
The fifth season of an innovative lecture series will begin Thursday, March 27, at Penn State Mont Alto, with a talk on the history, diversity and current management of the forest resource in the South Mountain region. Read more...

DCNR announces funding to help volunteer firefighters
With the approach of spring and increased risk of forest and brush fires across the state, federal grants are now available to help Pennsylvania’s rural communities better guard against the threat of fires in forested, undeveloped and unprotected areas. Read more...

Bureau of Forestry event salutes forest fire wardens, firefighters
Some came to receive awards, others were there to renew professional ties and brush up on wildfire detection, investigation and protection techniques, but when the 60 men and women filed from the Shavers Creek Volunteer fire hall all took home the same thing—warm thanks from DCNR Secretary Ellen Ferretti. Read more...

Three state parks benefiting from Macy’s promotion
Shoppers can benefit three state parks in southeastern Pennsylvania through a donation effort being held this month by Macy’s department stores and the National Recreation and Park Association, DCNR Secretary Ellen Ferretti announced this week. Read more...

DCNR names new state park managers at Reeds Gap complex, Ohiopyle
Tracy Zupich will oversee managerial duties of the Reeds Gap State Park complex in Mifflin and Centre counties and Kenneth E. Bisbee takes over the reins at Ohiopyle State Park in Fayette County following recent appointments announced by DCNR’s Bureau of State Parks. Read more...

DCNR’s Wild Resource Conservation Program helps fund groundbreaking study of snowy owls
This winter snowy owls have staged an incredible invasion, causing birders as far south as Florida and west to the Great Lakes to take to the field, and giving owl researchers a rare opportunity. Read more...

Also in the News

Webinar to assist DCNR grant applicants with policies and procedures
DCNR’s Bureau of Recreation and Conservation 2014 grant program for public recreation and conservation projects will close this year on April 16.

The department has held a number of workshops and webinars this winter to provide assistance to applicants interested in grants. A final online webinar session will be held March 21 at 10 a.m.

During this session DCNR will review grant program administration policies and procedures, including how to find and properly fill out payment request forms.

To register go here. Find more information on the Community Conservation Partnerships Program grants here.

Ironmaster’s Mansion to host open house
The Ironmaster’s Mansion at Pine Grove Furnace State Park in Cumberland County is having an open house for representatives of youth and nonprofit organizations, businesses, educational institutions or community groups or clubs on April 2 from noon to 4 p.m.

The Central Pennsylvania Conservancy renovated the mansion and reopened it April 2011 for use as a hostel, meeting space and community resource for meetings, workshops, weddings, reunions, camps and other group functions. The historic property has 28-bed dormitory-style accommodations where hikers and other visitors to the park can stay overnight for a nominal charge.

The open house will feature complimentary refreshments and the innkeepers will give tours of the1829 English Tudor home. Packets for group reservations will be available, and exciting raffle prizes will be drawn for attendees of the event. Pine Grove Furnace State Park will provide tours of the nearby Paymaster's Cabin, an historic accommodation available for rental during the summer season.

Pine Grove Furnace was built during the era of the American Revolution, and one of its first operators was Michael Ege. In 1815, his son, Peter Ege, who built the mansion and enjoyed the longest tenure of any ironmaster, inherited Pine Grove Furnace. The Ironmaster’s Mansion serves as a hostel and prominent halfway resting area for Appalachian Trail hikers.

To see photos of recent events at the Ironmaster’s Mansion go here. Click here to register for the open house.

Coldwater Heritage Partnership announces 2014 grant awards
The Coldwater Heritage Partnership recently announced over $40,000 in grants that have been awarded to local organizations to protect and conserve Pennsylvania’s coldwater streams. The Coldwater Heritage Partnership is a cooperative initiative of the Pennsylvania Council of Trout Unlimited, DCNR, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, and the Foundation for Pennsylvania Watersheds.

The Coldwater Heritage Partnership awards both planning and Implementation grants to conservation organizations across the state. Organizations that received an implementation grant will complete projects identified in previously completed coldwater conservation plans. Potential projects must enhance, conserve, or protect coldwater streams for which the original coldwater conservation plan recommended.

Besides offering grants, the Coldwater Heritage Partnership works to provide leadership, coordination and technical and educational assistance to organizations interested in protecting coldwater ecosystems. For a list of 2014 grant recipients and for more information, visit here.

Agency Spotlight

Sand Bridge State Park
Having had a picnic at this modestly spartan park is a great conversation starter. Read more...

Upcoming Events

Eagle Watch at Cook Forest State Park
March 22. Held 8:30 - 11:30 a.m. Please bring your binoculars and spotting scopes to the Park Office for a driving tour to eagle hotspots along the National Wild & Scenic Clarion River. This is the prime time of the year to view bald eagles on their nests and find new nesting sites. Expect a long car-pool and aggressive hike to some of the better areas, but the rewards will be worth it. Hot chocolate and coffee will be available at the Park Office to warm us up. For more information, call (814) 744-8407.

Green Design $aves Green workshop
March 26 . Held at 8:30 a.m. at at the Germantown Academy in Fort Washington, Pa. You can work with nature to save money every year and help your community manage stormwater! Learn from people who have successfully improved the environmental sustainability of their large property while reducing mowing, energy, and water costs with green management practices. Techniques explored will include naturalized basins, meadow conversions, rain gardens, and more.

Go here to register (by March 24) for the free workshop. For more information, contact Jessica Sprajcar.

For more DCNR events, go here.

March 19, 2014

Agency Spotlight

Sand Bridge State Park

Sand Bridge State Park

Having had a picnic at this modestly spartan park is a great conversation starter. Read more...

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