Land Trust & Borough Celebrate Closing on Sewickley Heights Park Expansion

On May 27, Allegheny Land Trust and Sewickley Heights Borough will hold a joint celebration to unveil a 58-acre property in Sewickley Heights Borough that was acquired in a public-private partnership.

The green space, which has been used by the community as an extension of the park for years, now expands Sewickley Heights Park by 58 acres. Formerly referred to by locals as the “hole in the doughnut” of surrounding park land, the property will be owned by SewickleyHeights Borough to serve as a publicly accessible green space available for passive recreation as in the surrounding park.

“The community had assumed it to be part of surrounding parks for years, and was quick to support this project to protect it permanently once they realized it was vulnerable to development,” said Mayor John C. Oliver III.

In celebration, ALT and Sewickley Heights Borough will host an unveiling event at theSewickley Heights History Center Wednesday, May 27, 2015 from 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. followed by a weather-permitting informal hike at the property.

Address for the celebration: 1901 Glen Mitchell Rd, Sewickley, PA 15143. Light refreshments will be provided.

Western Pennsylvania Conservancy Acquires More Than 17,000 Acres of Forestland in McKean County Largest land acquisition in the organization’s history

More than 17,000 acres of forestland and waterways in McKean County are now permanently conserved as intact working forest and forever open to the public for hunting, fishing, hiking and other recreational activities, the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy announced today.

At over 27-square miles, the 17,488-acre property in Norwich and Sergeant townships near the town of Clermont is the single largest land acquisition in the Conservancy’s 83-year history, and will significantly increase the amount of state forestland available for public use.

This land purchase from Forest Investment Associates (FIA) was made possible through a grant from the Richard King Mellon Foundation and funding from the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR). Property ownership was immediately conveyed to the DCNR Bureau of Forestry to become an addition to Elk State Forest.

According to WPC President and CEO Tom Saunders, this land acquisition is a milestone for the Conservancy and its work to permanently protect Western Pennsylvania’s important natural lands and watersheds. With this acquisition, WPC has now protected more than a quarter of a million acres of forests, wetlands and waterways in Pennsylvania.

“This property is magnificent, and is the largest acquisition in the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy’s history. We are excited to add it to the state forest system,” said Saunders. “It has extensive forest and rich conservation values, and builds on the Conservancy’s legacy of protecting the region’s most important places. We also are so pleased that this brings the Conservancy’s land protection work to a quarter million acres.”

The property includes sweeping ridges and scenic hardwood forests of mature red and sugar maple, black cherry, yellow and black birch, red oak and eastern hemlock. There are miles of streams originating from high

elevation headwater wetlands, where beaver ponds and marshes support plants such as cranberry, cottongrass, wool-grass, rushes, sedges, manna-grass and various mosses. Bear, turkey, deer and other wildlife thrive on the property, and the willow-banked streams teem with native brook trout.

FIA will retain the timber rights for 35 years and continue harvesting timber—supporting local forest management companies and sawmills—under an agreement that requires sustainable forest management practices. After 35 years, the timber rights will revert to DCNR, which will continue to manage the timber with goals of sustainably harvesting timber for economic benefit, while improving the forest and keeping it intact.

Large working forests contribute to Pennsylvania‘s ranking as number one in the nation in hardwood production. The timber and forest products industry ranks among the largest manufacturing sectors in the state. A sustainable harvest rate on a property of this size would typically generate approximately $30 million in annual industrial output and maintain about 200 timber and forest products-related jobs per year.

This property is located along the watershed divide between the upper Allegheny River and the Clarion River within the High Allegheny Plateau. It includes important headwater streams such as Brewer Run and West Branch of Potato Creek, which are major tributaries to the upper Allegheny River. The western portion of the property hosts the upper East Branch Clarion River and many of its tributaries including Martin Run, Gum Boot Run and Buck Run.

The property also includes a portion of Cathrine Swamp, a large, high-elevation wetland that is classified as an Exceptional Natural Heritage Area in the McKean County Natural Heritage Inventory. Fivemile Run, a wild-trout stream and high-quality tributary to the East Branch Clarion, originates from the swamp.

“With the large forest, beautiful streams supporting trout and an exceptional wetland, there is so much to appreciate about this property. There’s no doubt the property provides important water quality, environmental and recreational benefits to the region and the state,” said Shaun Fenlon, vice president of land conservation for WPC.

This acquisition is a significant addition to the Pennsylvania Wilds, which supports a tourism industry that generates $1.7 billion annually in visitor spending for the state. WPC has conveyed many of the lands it has conserved to state parks, state forests, state game lands and the Allegheny National Forest.

“It is a beautiful, remote property, and has long been a local treasure,” said Matthew Marusiak, WPC land protection manager based in the Conservancy’s

Ridgway Office. “FIA has been a great steward of the property, and through this sale, ensures that this working forest will continue to contribute to the economy while guaranteeing that future generations can enjoy the property as their parents have.”

Oil and gas rights have been previously severed on the property. This acquisition will not affect those subsurface rights or their development. DCNR plans to work with Seneca Resources, the subsurface owner, to minimize surface impacts to the property.

About the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy:

The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy (WPC) enhances the region’s quality of life by protecting and restoring exceptional places. A private nonprofit conservation organization founded in 1932, WPC has helped to establish ten state parks, conserved more than 252,000 acres of natural lands and protected or restored more than 3,000 miles of rivers and streams. The Conservancy owns and operates Fallingwater, which symbolizes people living in harmony with nature. In addition, WPC enriches our region’s cities and towns through 130 community gardens and other green spaces that are planted with the help of about 12,500 volunteers. The work of the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy is accomplished through the support of nearly 10,000 members. For more information, visit WaterLandLife.org.

Girl Scouts Preserves 762 Acres of Camp for Future Generations

“I am thrilled that Camp Small Valley has been preserved so that generations of girls will be able to experience the fun and challenges of camp–from riding horseback, zip lining and archery to making friendships that last a lifetime,” said Veronica Longenecker, GSHPA’s Board Chair.

In 2012, GSHPA launched a five-year camp development plan, which focuses on upgrading camp facilities to assure a quality outdoor experience for girls. GSHPA has completed an array of improvements to the camp such as high and low ropes courses, a yurt village, permanent archery range, horse stable and more.   The camp enhancements bring together the long standing Girl Scout tradition of exploring the outdoors with the exciting and adventurous curiosity of today’s girls.

“After many years of directing Girl Scout day camps and leading troops on camping trips, I have seen over and over how girls thrive as a result of outdoor experiences,” said Longenecker.

image007Camp is a place for girls to have fun adventures with friends, try something new and build leadership skills. According to the Girl Scout Research Institute’s (GSRI) study More than S’mores (2014) monthly exposure, high adventure, and repeat camp attendance are key drivers of girls’ leadership development and satisfaction. Specifically, findings have shown that girls who get outdoors regularly seek challenges and have an edge in problem solving.

Especially important to GSHPA and Manada Conservancy’s preservation efforts, research has shown that girls learn environmental stewardship through outdoor experiences. Girl Scouts are twice as likely as non-Girl Scouts to say they take action to protect the environment (51 percent versus 23 percent).

image008“The activities the Girl Scouts provide fulfill a crucial need for connecting children with the land,  providing environmental education, and outdoor recreation,” said Sally Zaino, Director of Preservation for Manada Conservancy. These outdoor activities align with Manada’s conservation criteria, which also includes: increasing volume of unfragmented habitat, falling within the designated Kittatinny Corridor, parcel size, wetland and waterway protection and continuity with other protected areas.

“The protection of Camp Small Valley fulfills the Manada Conservancy mission at the highest level, ranking its preservation as one of the highest priority projects we have undertaken,” said Zaino.

Camp Small Valley is one camp gearing up for Girl Scout resident camp, which will take place June-August. Camp Small Valley is expected to host around 300 Girl Scouts in June alone. For more information about GSHPA’s camps, visit www.gshpa.org.

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About Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania

Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania serves over 20,000 girls in 30 counties in central and northeastern Pennsylvania. GSHPA’s mission is to build girls of courage, confidence and character who make the world a better place.  We welcome all girls in grades K-12, as well as adults interested in volunteering.  For more information visit our Web site at www.gshpa.org or call 1.800.692.7816.

 

About Manada Conservancy

The Manada Conservancy is a land trust dedicated to the preservation of the natural, historic, agricultural and scenic resources of Dauphin County and to the promotion of environmental education. For more information about Manada Conservancy, visit www.manada.org.

Forester Bob Webber – Another legend passes on

UntitledEver hike the Bob Webber Trail ?  Remember the hiking staffs near the trailhead? Bob provided them for your convenience.  That short trail ends in a great vista that makes it worth the climb.  That’s what Bob was all about.

Bob worked in forestry for about 40 years. He retired in 1988, and stayed active (to put it mildly), giving back to Pennsylvania.  .

Bob, in green, stands before his off-the-grid home in 2010  [photo: David Ira Kagan]

No electricity and no phone.  Just a cabin on the west side of Pine Creek for Bob and Dottie and the cats. Dottie passed away about two years ago.   His friends remember  his astounding knowledge of history and the forests; I guess you call it  “institutional knowledge”.  They also remember the camaraderie and his singing voice (if you never heard of Al Jolson, look it up).

In addition to his work clearing and maintaining many miles of footpaths in Tiadaghton State Forest, he led hikes for many years.  You might remember him from KTA’s Prowl the Sproul or the Slate Run Ramble.

If you didn’t know Bob, learn a bit about him at:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Black-Forest-Trail/138986026278448

http://wnep.com/2013/11/26/16-salutes-bob-webber/

Naturalist Training Program Seeks Participants

In the fall of 2015, the volunteer training program of Pennsylvania Master Naturalist is partnering with Berks Conservancy to prepare citizens to become volunteer leaders in their communities through natural resource conservation education, citizen science, and stewardship. Pennsylvania Master Naturalist is a citizen volunteer initiative with three key components:
  • an initial 55-hour volunteer training,
  • annual volunteer service,
  • and continuing education in the natural sciences.

Seeking New Applicants for FALL 2015
The Pennsylvania Master Naturalist natural history training includes 55 hours of classroom (weekday evenings) and field sessions (Saturday or Sundays).

The Berks County training, coordinated by Berks Conservancy, will begin on August 25 and finish on November 7. Classroom sessions will take on Tuesday and/or Thursday from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm at the Environmental Exploration Center at Angelica Park. Field sessions will take place on several Saturdays: September 12, September 26, October 24, and November 7th. For a complete schedule go tohttp://pamasternaturalist.org.

Individuals interested in the Pennsylvania Master Naturalist Fall Trainings are invited to apply. Applications should be postmarked by May 15, 2015. Applications and information about training can be found on Pennsylvania Master Naturalist’s website atwww.pamasternaturalist.org under “Become a Master Naturalist.”

For additional information or questions, please contact Michele Richards at michele@pamasternaturalist.org or (570)441-3364.

Lancaster Farmland Trust Preserves 111 Acre

Old Order Amish Farm

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Yesterday, Lancaster Farmland Trust staff preserved a 111 acre Old Order Amish farm in Salisbury Township. The farm is home to a conventional dairy operation with 50 head of cattle.

This large farm has over 5,100 feet of road frontage and is near the border of Lancaster and Chester Counties. There are 13 other preserved farms within a two-mile radius of the property.

The Trust has now preserved 449 farms and 27,700 acres of Lancaster County farmland.

Heinz Endowments taps McElwaine to oversee environmental grantmaking

The Heinz Endowments on Tuesday appointed Andrew McElwaine to the new post of senior program director for sustainability and the environment to oversee the Pittsburgh-based foundation’s environment grantmaking. Last year, the Endowments’ environmental program distributed more than $14.4 million in grants.

McElwaine, who had been the Endowments’ first environmental program director before leaving to take another post in 1999, is president and CEO of American Farmland Trust, based in Washington, D.C. He had been an environmental and government affairs aide to the late Sen.John Heinz. Heinz Endowments CEO Grant Oliphant had also worked for the senator.

The Endowments additionally promotedPhillip Johnson to program director for science and environment, a post he held on an interim basis for the past year.

Source: http://www.bizjournals.com/pittsburgh/news/2015/04/14/heinz-endowments-taps-mcelwaine.html

Naturalist Training Program Seeks Participants in Chester and Bucks Counties

In the Fall of 2015, the volunteer training program of Pennsylvania Master Naturalist is partnering with The Land Conservancy for Southern Chester County and Silver Lake Nature Center (Bucks County) to prepare citizens to become volunteer leaders in their communities through natural resource conservation education, citizen science, and stewardship. Pennsylvania Master Naturalist is a citizen volunteer initiative with three key components: an initial 55-hour volunteer training, annual volunteer service, and continuing education in the natural sciences.

Building Volunteer Leadership for Community-based Conservation

Master Naturalist volunteers design and pursue a wide variety of service projects from habitat restoration and native plantings, to nature walks and interpretative displays or publications on natural history, to water quality monitoring and supporting the natural resource conservation efforts of partnering organizations. Since 2010, Pennsylvania Master Naturalist volunteers in Southeastern Pennsylvania have:

  • engaged in more than 6,300 hours of conservation service
  • contributed $140,700 in conservation value and impact to numerous regional partners
  • reached over 9,000 people through education and outreach initiatives
  • improved 330 acres of habitat through stewardship service
  • dedicated themselves to 2,300 hours of continuing education in the natural sciences

Seeking New Applicants for Fall 2015

The Pennsylvania Master Naturalist natural history training sessions include 55 hours of classroom (weekday evenings) and field (Saturday) sessions and will be coordinated by the Land Conservancy for Southern Chester County and Silver Lake Nature Center (Bucks County) in the Fall of 2015.

The Chester County training, coordinated by The Land Conservancy for Southern Chester County, will begin on August 18 and finish on November 3, 2015. Classroom sessions will take place on Tuesday and/or Thursday from 6:00pm to 8:30pm at the Stroud Water Research Center (Avondale). Field sessions will take place on Saturdays or Sundays from 9:30am-2:00pm at the Bucktoe Creek Preserve, the Stateline Woods Preserve, and the New Leaf Eco Center. A complete schedule is posted on the Pennsylvania Master Naturalist website (www.pamasternaturalist.org).

The Bucks County Training, coordinated by Silver Lake Nature Center (Bristol), will begin on Tuesday, September 15, and meet every Tuesday until November 10 from 5:30pm to 8:30pm. Field trips are scheduled for Saturdays: September 26, October 10, 17, and 24.

Individuals interested in the Pennsylvania Master Naturalist Program in Chester or Bucks Counties are encouraged to apply by May 15, 2015. Applications can be found on the Pennsylvania Master Naturalist website at www.pamasternaturalist.org.

 

Contact:            Andrea Stevens, Program Coordinator progcoord@pamasternaturalist.org or (570) 764-7628

ClearWater Conservancy Announces Resignation of Executive Director

The board of directors of ClearWater Conservancy has accepted the resignation of long-time executive director Jennifer Shuey, effective April 24, 2015.

“Serving as ClearWater’s executive director has been an amazing, transformative experience for me,” says Shuey. “I am proud of how far we’ve come, and I want to salute my many mentors on the board of directors, our talented staff, and our many volunteers and partners for the success we’ve had creating multi-tiered partnerships and bringing a broad spectrum of voices into the conversation around conservation. I look forward to continuing my support for ClearWater’s mission.”

Shuey’s new plans in the community will be released in the near future.

ClearWater Conservancy has worked to protect land and water resources in Central Pennsylvania for 35 years; Shuey is the third executive director. Over the course of her nearly 15-year tenure with the nonprofit, ClearWater has grown from a small grassroots organization into a respected and accredited land trust, protecting 5,600 acres of habitat and restoring 77,900 feet of streams in the region. The organization has also helped improve water quality and protect water supplies, raised funding to provide nearly 20,000 student visits to Millbrook Marsh Nature Center, and removed 5.8 million pounds of illegally dumped trash from Centre County watersheds through annually organized Watershed Cleanup Days.

“Jen has done an exceptional job of bringing together new stakeholders and supporters of conservation in our community,” says Steve Miller, the President of ClearWater’s board of directors. “Under her leadership, the organization has also seen a marked expansion of its financial capacity and overall fiscal health. She has built a strong foundation for future successes on the horizon.”

Shuey’s final day at ClearWater will be Arbor Day, April 24. A committee has been formed to oversee the organization’s leadership transition and conduct an open search for ClearWater Conservancy’s next executive director. Miller will serve as interim director.

 

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ClearWater Conservancy of Central Pennsylvania, Inc. is a 501(c)(3), Centre County based land trust and environmental conservation organization formed in 1980 with the mission of promoting the conservation and restoration of natural resources in central Pennsylvania through land conservation, water resource protection, and environmental outreach to the community. To learn more about ClearWater Conservancy, visit clearwaterconservancy.org.

2,164 children headed to Millbrook Marsh Nature Center through ClearWater Conservancy’s Spring 2015 ‘Connections’ Program

ClearWater Conservancy awarded $16,632 in funding through its “Connections” program for 2,164 students from 16 area public and private schools to take part in field trips this spring to Millbrook Marsh Nature Center in State College.

ClearWater’s long-standing “Students-Communities-Streams-Connections” program pays for transportation and admission to the nature center. At Millbrook Marsh, the children will learn about their local natural environment through interactive and hands-on outdoor activities and experiments. In all, the program has sponsored 19,805 student visits since 2000.

“Trained naturalists introduce them to the wetland and the habitat. Activities include discovery walks, educational activities on the trail, experiencing the marsh hands-on by using their senses, and lots of exploration and discovery,” said Molly Hetrick, recreational supervisor at Millbrook Marsh. “All the programs are designed based on the PA State Standards for Environment and Ecology and supplement the school district’s classroom lessons.”

Elementary and middle school students and their teachers received word about their grant awards in March.

The 2015 Connections program is made possible with donations from Wal-Mart Foundation, State of the Art, Inc. Harris Township Lions Club and the many donors who attended ClearWater’s For the Love of Art & Chocolate fundraising event this year.

Spring 2015 funding recipients include:

Bellefonte Area School District 

  • Bellefonte Elementary; teacher Staci Chapman; 59 kindergarten students at a cost of$613.00
  • Benner Elementary; teacher Pam Vaiana; 208 fourth-grade students at a cost of $2,656.00

Bald Eagle Area School District

  • Port Matilda Elementary; teacher Shawnee Morgan; 26 first-grade students at a cost of $352.00

Penns Valley Area School District

  • Centre Hall, Penns Valley & Rebersburg; teacher Ang Homan; 93 fourth-grade students at a cost of $976.00
  • Centre Hall, Penns Valley & Rebersburg; teacher Vickie Fultz; 99 first-grade students at a cost of $1,018.00
  • Centre Hall, Penns Valley & Rebersburg; teacher Heather Bird; 114 second-grade students at a cost of $1,123.00
  • Penn’s Valley High School; teacher Jessica Martin; 107 seventh-grade students at a cost of $1,337.00

Philipsburg Osceola Area School District

  • Phillipsburg Elementary; teacher Denise Putt, 40 second-grade students at a cost of$460.00
  • Phillipsburg Elementary; teacher Kerry Whitman, 45 second-grade students at a cost of $495.00

State College Area School District

  • State College Area Elementaries; teacher Deirdre Bauer; 990 kindergarten, first and second-grade students at a cost of $3,465.00 

Private Schools

  • The Bellefonte Playschool; teacher Lori Proper; 33 pre-kindergarten students at a cost of $450.00.
  •  Cen-Clear Child Services, Inc.; teacher Amy Wible; 254 pre-kindergarten students at a cost of $2,690.00.
  •  Grace Lutheran Preschool and Kindergarten; teacher Anne Goodall; 8 kindergarten students at a cost of $176.00.
  •  Our Children’s Center Montessori; teacher Sarah Potter; 28 pre-kindergarten students at a cost of $196.00.
  • State College Area Friends School; teacher Lynne Bradley; 29 pre-kindergarten students at a cost of $308.00.
  • State College Area Friends School; teacher Lisa Gamble; 31 kindergarten and first-grade students at a cost of $317.00.

Millbrook Marsh Nature Center offers a variety of programs, events, and activities to the community, in addition to leading school groups through educational field trips.  Learn more atwww.MyMillbrookMarsh.org

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