State park staff provide a valuable connection to our natural resources.
State park staff provide a valuable connection to our natural resources.
Flowers, petals, plants, ground, outside. DCNR Logo. Text: resource
Newsletter of the Pa. Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
April 14, 2021
People, grass, lake, cameras, binoculars, trees, outside.
Featured in Our Good Natured Blog
Let Earth Day Inspire Lifelong Learning About Our Environment 
Next week will bring a week of awareness about the environment as we mark Earth Day on April 22.
It just so happens it also is National Environmental Education Week.
Earth Day has its roots in education and awareness about the environment, so these two are intertwined.
Becoming more knowledgeable about the environment helps us all think of solutions to issues such as clean water, climate change, and habitat loss.
If Earth Day inspires you to learn more, you’ll be happy to know that DCNR provides conservation education programs and opportunities for people of all ages across Pennsylvania to create awareness and improve understanding about the environment, conservation, and recreation.
DCNR offers opportunities for:
  • Students looking for an outdoor, educational experience
  • Teachers and other non-formal educators hoping to connect students to their natural environment
  • Families who want to learn more about recreation on our public lands
In state parks, DCNR has 118 environmental educators at 63 locations around the commonwealth.
There are two environmental education specialists that offer programming located in Forbes State Forest and Tiadaghton State Forest, as well as service foresters who frequently work with school groups and other groups upon request. Read more...
Aerial view, smoke, mountains, trees, roads, houses
DCNR Warns of Heightened Spring Wildfire Dangers
With trout fishing and many other outdoor activities increasing at a time when woodlands and brush can become tinder dry in just a day of direct sunlight and a light breeze, DCNR is urging all residents to guard against increased dangers of wildfire in Pennsylvania’s 17 million acres of forestlands.
“With dry spring conditions, it takes only a careless moment to ignite a devastating forest fire. We know outdoor burning is the leading cause of wildfires throughout the state and more than 99 percent of Pennsylvania wildfires are caused by people,” Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn said.
To assist the public with easy access to information, DCNR has added new maps to the wildfire web page, which are updated daily and provide observed and expected conditions in the state.
Visitors are encouraged to check the fire condition maps before engaging in these activities and are reminded that campfires are prohibited on state forest lands from March 1 to May 25 regardless of conditions. Read more
Outside, forest, plants, metal, pipes, structure
Abandoned Oil and Gas Wells in Cornplanter State Forest to be Plugged
DCNR and the Department of Environmental Protection announced work is beginning to plug 12 abandoned oil and gas wells in the Cornplanter State Forest, Forest County.
“Proper plugging of these legacy wells will provide immediate benefits to the air, land, and water in the Cornplanter State Forest as well as eliminating potential safety issues for state forest visitors,” DCNR Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn said.
The 12 wells, some of which are believed to have been in the forest since the 1920s, are located in Harmony Township. This is the first phase of a four-phase project in this area.
DCNR is committed to addressing impacts from abandoned legacy wells on public lands.
DCNR provided funding to the Department of Environmental Protection’s Well Plugging Program to manage contracts to properly plug abandoned wells where no responsible party can be identified. Read more
Person, indoors, woman, award, plaque
Good Natured Pennsylvanians
Rachel Reyna is Chief of DCNR’s Bureau of Forestry’s Rural and Community Forestry section.
Rachel received the Mira Lloyd Dock Outstanding Woman Conservationist Award in 2019 for her work in promoting healthy forests around the state.
As part of the Rural and Community section, she works to establish good practices in forest stewardship through outreach, program management, and building relationships within communities.
Rachel maintains partnerships with conservation and educational organizations, oversees grants, and coordinates efforts of nationally recognized forestry programs.
The Watershed Forestry program is working to plant streamside forest buffers and converting lawns to more environmentally friendly options. TreeVitalize serves to foster tree canopy in urban and suburban communities.
The Woodland Stewardship Program is a statewide partnership that works to conserve and sustain working forests by focusing primarily on the approximately 70 percent of Pennsylvania forestland that is owned by private citizens.
“The program promotes the wise management and use of our forest resources to ensure the health, productivity, and perpetuation of the many benefits forests provide to society,” says Rachel.
The benefits of healthy forests are diverse and improve many aspects of our lives. More jobs, carbon storage, pollution reduction, improved water quality, habitat for wildlife, and open space to enjoy -- the list goes on.
Better management helps the forest to retain, and even increase, the benefits it produces.
The Woodland Stewardship Program works through a sequence of increasing landowner commitment.
Because Rachel works closely with the public, people skills are as essential as natural resource training.
Through a process of education, planning, and encouragement, private landowners are enabled to take action and implement long-term conservation measures.
“The decisions people make can have far-reaching impacts that can range anywhere from good to harmful. What you do as one person can make a difference,” Rachel says. “What we do together for conservation is powerful, meaningful, and can continue to provide benefits to society far beyond our own tenure on this planet.”
Rachel can trace her love of the forest from the many childhood summers spent driving around the country, exploring the United States in places like National Forests.
“We were always hiking around and exploring the woods from our campsites and listening to presentations by forest or park staff,” says Rachel. “Through these adventures, I developed a lifelong love of the woods -- and also of travel.”
There are many ways to get involved in forest conservation, such as planting trees in your neighborhood or yard. Contact a local conservancy to see what opportunities they may have available or reach out to a nature center near you to see what help they may need.
“Volunteering time for conservation projects is a great way to really get out and experience nature and to learn from the folks who have been working in various natural resource fields,” Rachel says. “It is also a great way to do something tangible to make the world a better place.”
Know of a good natured Pennsylvanian who is passionate about outdoor recreation and/or conservation that we should feature? Contact us at ra-resource@pa.gov to nominate someone.

Also in the News

DCNR Receives Watershed Education Award
Sinnemahoning State Park and partners received a 2021 Meaningful Watershed Educational Experience Partner of Excellence Award from the Pennsylvania Association of Environmental Educators.
This is the second year for the Meaningful Watershed Educational Experience Awards and the second year that Pennsylvania state parks has won.
The award was presented to staff for a 4-H Regional Wildlife Field Day held at Sinnemahoning State Park.
This partnership was between Penn State Extension, Pennsylvania State Parks, Potter County Conservation District, and the Pennsylvania Game and Fish and Boat commissions.
person, woods, forest, trees, walking
South Mountain Mini-Grant Program Now Open
The South Mountain Partnership’s Mini-Grant Program is now open.
To be considered, a short pre-application form must be submitted by Friday, May 28, 2021. Only those who pre-apply may submit a final application.
The program is intended to catalyze on-the-ground projects that further the goals of the partnership, and to advance the capacity of partners to complete projects throughout the region.
These grants provide funding, on a competitive basis, to projects that sustain the South Mountain Conservation Landscape’s sense of place by protecting and promoting the region’s resources.
People, water, lake, boats, fishing, life jackets
Life Jackets Are Important During Spring as Lakes and Waterways Remain Cold Even on Warm Days
Despite warm air temperatures, water temperatures in spring remain bone-chilling -- and potentially deadly. That’s why the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission reminds boaters to always wear a life jacket.
From November 1 through April 30, boaters are required to wear a life jacket while underway or at anchor on boats less than 16 feet in length or any canoe or kayak. This includes all state park and forest waters.
Sudden cold-water immersion is one of the main reasons people drown from capsizing or falling overboard in the early spring.
Research on cold water survival indicates that wearing a life jacket significantly increases a person’s chance of survival.
First TreeVitalize Partners Conference Will Discuss Environmental Justice and Equality
Exploring the potential avenues for diversity, inclusion, and justice in community forests is the focus of the inaugural TreeVitalize Partners Conference: Envisioning a Just Future in Community Forests.
The virtual conference will run from 12:00 P.M. - 1:30 P.M., Wednesday, May 5 and 12.
Participants are encouraged to employ strategies and create solutions that address these issues in their own communities.
Many speakers and panelists will be brought together to discuss various approaches toward reaching the goals of diversity, inclusion, and justice.
The conference also will kickstart a five-part series of weekly webinars that will continue to explore issues and opportunities surrounding these topics. Registration is required with a $10 fee.
People, outside, trees, sidewalk, city, street, grass, shade
Philly Tree Plan Seeks Community Input
The City of Philadelphia wants to know what residents think about trees in the city. Feedback will help to create a strategic plan for the planting and care of trees.
The Philly Tree Plan is working to make sure trees are more fairly located across the city, and to support healthy trees in the communities that need them and want them the most.
The survey results will allow for long-term planning for policy, funding, and maintenance of trees.
What is important to you and how can we get there? Visit the Community Engagement Hub to share your thoughts.
fishing tackle, litter, trash, tree branch, fishing line, plastic, bobbers. Text: Conservation Tip
Trout season is underway, and many people will be headed out to Pennsylvania lakes and streams this year. We ask that anglers help to leave their fishing spots the same as or even better than they found them.
Leave no trace and follow these tips:
  • Take out everything that you take in -- litter can be hazardous to wildlife.
  • Properly dispose of fishing line to prevent wildlife from becoming trapped or injured -- look for used fishing line receptacles at state parks.
  • Don’t discard bait at your fishing site -- pack out all leftover live bait, bait cups, and other trash.
  • Use lead-free tackle -- if you find lead sinkers or jigs, pick them up and properly disposes of them.
  • Avoid fishing in sensitive areas and walking through native plants and wildflowers.
  • Do not drive through streams or riparian areas to get to a fishing spot.
Frog, animal, water, outdoors. Text: Upcoming Events
Spring has sprung, and Earth Day is just around the corner! This is a great time of year to explore a state park, immerse yourself in signs of the season, or spend some time to give back and volunteer.
Here are some upcoming events:
Check the DCNR calendar of events for additional virtual events in state parks and forests.

Featured Photo

Bird, water, reflection, loon, outside.
A common loon was recently spotted out of its usual range on Holman Lake at Little Buffalo State Park.

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