Perspectives are changing about the traditional lawn.
Perspectives are changing about the traditional lawn.
Newsletter of the Pa. Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
August 19, 2020
Featured in Our Good Natured Blog
Yellow and black flowers in a field with tall vegetation.
For Cleaner Water, Convert Some Lawn
There are 2 million acres of lawn in Pennsylvania -- that’s a lot of turf grass!
The idea that homes be surrounded by expanses of lawn is older than America itself.
Stately manors of the Old World had a common attribute -- grassy, expansive buffers.
Associated with the upper class and firmly engrained in settlers’ land use ideology, grassy lawns also became the thing to have in the New World.
Perspectives are changing about the traditional lawn.
Dramatic declines in pollinators, the need for clean water, and to respond to climate change require different thinking about managing our yards. Read more
A birds-eye view of houses and a lake with brown coloring coming from a creek along the banks.
Actions Underway in Wake of Pipeline Drilling Spill Affecting Marsh Creek State Park
Concerted efforts are underway by DCNR and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to safeguard visitors and park resources in the wake of a pipeline drilling fluid spill affecting the lake at Marsh Creek State Park -- and that Energy Transfer will be held accountable to the full extent of the law.
On Monday, August 10, DEP responded to a report from Sunoco of a potential inadvertent return at HDD 290, a drill site off Green Valley Road in Marsh Creek State Park in Upper Uwchlan Township, Chester County. Operation at the drill site has been suspended indefinitely.
“DCNR recognizes this park is beloved by those who live nearby and is an important resource to the people and businesses of surrounding communities,” Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn said. “I feel it is important to let them know we’re standing by them on this.”
DEP, along with the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, continue to investigate and oversee the cleanup of the inadvertent return into Marsh Creek. Read more
A large footbridge over a wide creek with trees below
Funding for Local Parks, Recreation, and Conservation Made Permanent
Gettysburg National Military Park. The Appalachian Trail. Allegheny National Forest. The Flight 93 National Memorial. More than 1,200 state and local parks.
What do all these places have in common?
They’re all here in Pennsylvania, and they all exist thanks, in part, to the Land and Water Conservation Fund.
Since the 1970s, the Land and Water Conservation Fund’s legislation has authorized it to receive up to $900 million each year. But in practice, it rarely received that much.
Until July 22, 2020, when Congress passed the Great American Outdoors Act. The act permanently funds the Land and Water Conservation Fund at its full level. Read more
A man stands on the grass in a park
Good Natured Pennsylvanians
Ben Mummert is an outstanding supporter of conservation and recreation as the Director of Land Protection and Stewardship for the Central Pennsylvania Conservancy.
Ben oversees properties that the conservancy owns or has conservation easements on; and is continually working hard to improve the environment, support educational opportunities, and expand conservation efforts.
He also does a fantastic job sharing his wealth of knowledge and expertise at various events, tours, and conferences.
Ben has demonstrated a grassroots commitment to community development and environmental sustainability. While at his position at the conservancy, he manages activities on more than 300 acres of preserves; and leads stewardship for the land trust’s 26 conservation easements.
He also is the site steward for the conservancy’s Letort Spring Garden Preserve, managing all aspects of the property including GIS mapping, inventories, monitoring, native planting, removing invasive species, trails and access, community outreach, and educational tours.
Ben attended Dickinson College to study Environmental Studies and Policy Management. With his expertise and a genuine determination for conservation and stewardship practices, Ben is making an impact every day to save and sustain central Pennsylvania's treasured natural resources.
Ben's conservation interests and accomplishments extend well beyond his responsibilities at the Central Pennsylvania Conservancy.
He serves as a certified and trained prescribed fire volunteer to assist with management of the state’s woodlands; a certified Pennsylvania Forest Steward; a qualified Sustainable Forestry Initiative Timber Harvest Professional; and a licensed pesticide applicator.
He serves on the Shade Tree Committee for Carlisle Borough, and has served as the program director for Cumberland Valley Trout Unlimited's Rivers Conservation and Fly-Fishing Youth Camp for almost 10 years.
From engaging youth, to volunteering as a highly trained volunteer on prescribed fires, to serving on a municipal committee, the community is fortunate to benefit from the positive energy he invests in it.
Know of a good natured Pennsylvanian who is passionate about outdoor recreation and/or conservation that we should feature? Contact us at to nominate someone.

Also in the News

A large swimming pool full of water and some people with a water slide and lifegaurd
Still Time to Enjoy State Park Pools, Visitors Should Check Schedules Before Planning a Visit
State parks are a great place to swim and cool off. If you are coming to a state park to enjoy a pool, be sure to check the hours of operation be sure you visit.
Some pools have closed already, while others have ceased weekday operation and will only be open weekends until Labor Day.
Pools still open with modified hours can be found at the following state parks:
  • Bendigo
  • Hyner Run
  • Mt. Pisgah
  • Sizerville
  • Blue Knob
  • Frances Slocum
  • Nockamixon
  • French Creek
  • Marsh Creek
  • Neshaminy
Visitors should contact the state park they want to visit to check the pool hours.
PA Horticultural Society Offering Basic Tree Tenders Training
Want to learn about planting trees and taking care of them?
Participate in a Pennsylvania Horticultural Society Tree Tenders training this fall; and join one of the nation’s oldest, most respected volunteer urban tree-care programs.
Participants receive training on:
  • Tree biology
  • Identification
  • Planting
  • Proper tree care
This four-part workshop series will be held on Wednesday, September 9, 16, 23, and 30, from 6:30 P.M. to 8:30 P.M.
The courses will be held virtually and will be available in English and Spanish.
Tree Tenders are given the tools to plant and nurture trees in their own neighborhoods. Regionally, there are more than 5,000 Tree Tenders from more than 100 neighborhoods!
For more information or to register, visit the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society website.
A red sign post stands between a grassy trail and a canal full of water with trees all around.
Addition to Delaware Canal State Park Protects 118 Acres in Bucks County
DCNR has partnered with the Heritage Conservancy to preserve a 118-acre farm in the village of Washington Crossing. The farm was the former home of the David Library of the American Resolution, and will become part of Delaware Canal State Park.
“With several residences and an extensive collection of large outbuildings, the site is a perfect location for a canal interpretive center,” said DCNR Bureau of State Parks Director John Hallas, “as well as an administrative and maintenance center for the park.”
The property includes several historic structures and provides access to the Delaware Canal, and the 60-mile long towpath.
“It is important to note this acquisition is funded through the Keystone Recreation, Park and Conservation Fund which, since 1993, has benefitted conservation, park, and historic preservation throughout the state,” said DCNR Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn. “This funding is critical in protecting our natural resources, outdoor economy, and public well-being.”
A wodded parking lot is crowded and full of cars. Text: Health Tip
A number of state parks and forest recreation areas are seeing significant crowding during the weekends and when the weather is warm -- making it difficult to socially distance during COVID-19.
The extraordinary number of people is causing these places to turn away visitors. Overflow parking also may be closed to help ensure proper social distancing and the safety of park and forest visitors.
Visitors planning to go to these areas are encouraged to find other less crowded locations for recreation:
Upcoming events: A red slamander crawls on the ground around rocks
Summer is flying by and there is still so much to see and do!
Don’t miss out on a chance to explore and learn with Pennsylvania state parks at one of these upcoming events:
Programs will be held under the following conditions:
  • Programs will be restricted to 25 participants or less. Check for registration requirements.
  • Social distancing is required during programs.
  • Participants must have a mask for use when social distancing is not possible.
  • Participants must bring their own hand sanitizer.
Both in-person and virtual events continue to be added. Check the DCNR calendar of events for upcoming public programs in state parks.

Featured Video

Divers in scuba gear float on the surface of a lake. Text: Cowans Gap Lake Cleanup, Cowans Gap State Park
Ever wonder what’s at the bottom of our state park lakes?
In June, a group of 16 divers volunteered their time to dive Cowans Gap Lake and clean up trash in and around the lake at Cowans Gap State Park. They collected 30 pounds of trash!
A big thank you to these special volunteers who conduct adive clean up each year at a state park lake. Please properly dispose of trashat our natural places. Watch the video.
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