Fifteen statewide projects conducted by schools, businesses and community organizations have received the honor of a 2022 Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).
“It’s always a privilege to recognize people who are doing everything they can to improve the environment and make our great outdoor spaces more accessible,” said DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell. “Each of the projects recognized this year will leave a positive and lasting legacy for Pennsylvania.”
Entries were evaluated on environmental protection, innovation, partnership, economic impact, climate change considerations, sustainability and environmental justice, and results achieved.
Collectively, the winning projects have engaged hundreds of partners and resulted in:
- 2,470,000 gallons of treated rainwater
- 118 trees planted
- 32,552 shrubs planted
- 2,000 meter trail created
- 200,000 Pound acid mine drainage treated
- 8th Miles of streams treated
- 242 hectares of green space created
- 15 Purchased electric vehicles
- 2,400 tons of CO2 reduced
- 1,700,000 Kilowatt hours saved
- 500 tons of recycled material
The 2022 Governor’s Awards for Environmental Excellence were presented to the following organizations in North Central Pa. or nationally awarded:
Northcentral Pennsylvania Conservancy & Pennsylvania Game Commission (PGC) for removal of Plunketts Creek berm at Proctor
In the 1940s, a 10 to 12 foot earth berm was built along 2,200 feet of the creek to protect the former North Central Propagation Farm (now State Game Lands #134), operated by PGC, from flooding. The berm cut off Plunketts Creek from its floodplain.
The work also improved Huckle Run, a quality stream with naturally breeding trout. Plunketts Creek experienced several 500-year-old floods over the past decade, but after recovery after Hurricane Ida, Plunketts Creek flowed into its natural floodplain, protecting surrounding land and property.
Nurture the nature center for watershed friendly properties
The Nurture Nature Center and the Penn State Extension Master Watershed Steward program have developed a watershed friendly education and certification program to expand the number of watershed friendly properties throughout PA with the goal of educating residents, communities, educational institutions and businesses about the Worth educating about a healthy watershed and best practices for improving water quality.
Over 600 Pennsylvania residents were reached through the project’s outreach and presentations. To date, there have been a total of 300 applications, of which 270 have passed (a 90% success rate), and 250 Watershed Friendly Property signs have been mailed across the state, representing a total of 49 counties (nearly three-quarters of the state represented).
These are traits that contribute to the health of PA’s watersheds through practices such as rain gardens and other stormwater management strategies, cultivation of native vegetation, elimination of pollution sources, conservation of water (rain barrels), and more.
Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) activities and education portal
Originally developed in response to the challenges COVID guidance posed for teachers, parents and the Pennsylvania fishing and boating community in 2020, the staff at PFBC Education has spent the past year developing the activity and education portal into a One -Stop developing environmental education business that brings the “experience of fishing, boating and aquatic resources” to participants at home.
The PFBC Activity & Education Portal is a comprehensive resource for anyone interested in aquatic resources and fishing and boating opportunities across the Commonwealth including videos, activities, printables, Pennsylvania League of Angling Youth (PLAY) newsletters, crafts, coloring pages and background information and more.
Topics include: habitat, watersheds and pollution; native fish species; amphibians and reptiles; aquatic macroinvertebrates; Fishing; fly fishing; kayak fishing; boating and water safety; and an overview of the PFBC.
To make educational materials more accessible to people with visual impairments, PFBC is now releasing audio versions of their most popular newsletters. As complementary resources to the Read Along with PFBC video project, this project also created a downloadable coloring page and a variety of themed activities and educational packs, all of which can be found on the activities and educational portal.