Wolf Signs Moratorium On All New Oil And Gas Leases In State Forests, Parks
Gov. Tom Wolf Thursday signed an executive order reinstating a moratorium on new leases for oil and gas development in state parks and forests. He signed the order with members of the General Assembly in attendance at in Benjamin Rush State Park in Philadelphia.
DEP Seeks Nominations For Governor’s Award For Environmental Excellence
Department of Environmental Protection Acting Secretary John Quigley today invited Pennsylvania individuals and organizations to apply for the 2015 Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence. The deadline for applications is March 2.
Save The Date: PA League Of Women Voters Honor Franklin L. Kury April 7
The PA League of Women Voters will honor former Senator Franklin L. Kury (D-Northumberland) and author of the Environmental Rights Amendment to Pennsylvania’s Constitution at a reception on April 7 at the Colonial Ridge Country Club, 4901 Linglestown Road, Harrisburg.
Punxsutawney Phil’s Home County Joins Clean Water Counts! Initiative
Countdown To Cleanup: 697 Days To Meet PA 2017 Stream Cleanup Milestone
Pennsylvania has 697 days to put the best management practices on the ground needed to eliminate 10 million pounds of nitrogen and 212 million pounds of sediment from going into our rivers and streams to meet the 2017 Chesapeake Bay cleanup milestones.
DEP Citizens Advisory Council Honors Former Member Janet Keim
Exelon Generation’s nuclear power plants in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions ran at full capacity during the recent winter storm that dropped more than two feet of snow in some parts of New England, the company said Friday.
Exelon’s seven plants in New York, New Jersey, Maryland and Pennsylvania operated without interruption throughout the storm, producing 10,832 megawatts of electricity per hour, enough to power more than ten million homes and businesses.
“In extreme weather, nuclear plants have a distinct advantage over other generation sources,” said Bryan Hanson, Exelon Nuclear president and chief nuclear officer. “Importing fuel can be challenging or even impossible in dangerous weather conditions. Our nuclear plants have the necessary fuel on site and are designed to withstand winter’s worst.”
Nuclear generation has proven highly reliable in the face of snow, ice and prolonged periods of freezing temperatures. During last year’s polar vortex, nuclear facilities performed at a 95 percent capacity factor, a key measure of reliability. Demand for energy surged and grid operators struggled to keep up.
Many non-nuclear generation sources had high forced-outage rates or were otherwise unable to perform. A number of natural gas and coal plants across the country were unable to access fuel or operate continuously.
Nuclear power plants are engineered to run uninterrupted for up to two years, Beyond that, highly skilled plant workers prepare nuclear facilities months in advance for the worst conceivable winter storm by reviewing plant systems and identifying and addressing potential vulnerabilities.
When extreme weather hits, procedures are in place to increase equipment monitoring to minimize or eliminate weather-related problems.
During extreme weather conditions, nuclear plants also provide critical redundancy to the electrical system.
Nuclear stations are usually the largest generation facilities in an electrical system’s interconnected network and grid operators count on nuclear’s “always-on” base load power as demand increases, especially when other units go off line unexpectedly. Nuclear facilities are also key to grid restoration in the unlikely event of a system blackout.
Exelon Generation operates the largest fleet of nuclear plants in the nation. The fleet consists of 23 reactors at 14 locations in Illinois, Maryland, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania. For more information, visit Exelon’s website.
The PPFF contest included six categories: Appreciation of Beauty, Kids in the Outdoors, Outdoor Recreation, Dogs in the Outdoors, Volunteers in Action, and the newest division, Young Photographers.
All photos were taken in one of PA’s many state parks or forest lands, and judging for the contest was done by popular vote on Facebook, and by critic’s choice. Winning photographs can be viewed at the Foundation’s Facebook page.
The photos are captivating. They represent the strong bond with nature that builds a respect and appreciation for Pennsylvania’s public lands, so that they may be enjoyed year round.
Photo: The Critic’s Choice winner in the Outdoor Recreation division, Stokes Clarke’s Winter Fishing Scene taken at Laurel Hill State Park.
The photo contest was sponsored by Penn Strategies LLC and J.C. Oliver, along with support from the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.
The PA Parks and Forests Foundation announced Friday entries for the 2015 State Parks and Forests Through The Season photo contest will be due September 12. Click Here for photo submission rules, categories and all the details
Nature Abounds, a national nonprofit environmental organization, is seeking a contractor to build a website for the Pennsylvania Senior Environment Corps including a water monitoring database. Project bids are now being accepted through the close of business on February 13.
Applicants should have experience with building water monitoring databases and website portals. Work is planned to begin by the end of February 2015 and project should be complete by close of business on April 17, 2015.
Nature Abounds, a national nonprofit environmental organization based in DuBois, PA is seeking candidates for a part-time Volunteer Program Coordinator at their headquarters in DuBois, PA. Click Here for all the details.
Funding is available to help launch or strengthen community partnerships that raise awareness and educate citizens about ways to keep Pennsylvania drinking water resources clean and healthy.
If your proposal meets our criteria, we'll work together with you to help make your project a success.
Source Water Protection Collaborative grant awards are available up to $8,000 per project to foster and support the formation of coalitions that will educate local officials and residents about ways to protect public drinking water resources from contamination, improve emergency response coordination and ensure the community water supply will be sustainable.
For 2015, applicants can select from three tiers for source water protection grants:
-- Local Project: Application submitted by a partnership (comprised of at least one community water system and one or two additional organizations) that form a Local Source Water Collaborative to conduct source water protection public education and implement a priority protection action within the recharge or aquifer area. Maximum funding: $3,000/project.
-- Expanded Local Project: Application submitted by a partnership (comprised of two or more community water systems and one or two additional organizations) that form an Expanded Local Source Water Collaborative to conduct source water protection public education and implement a priority protection action within a shared aquifer recharge area or upstream/downstream watershed intake area. Maximum funding: $5,000/project.
-- County SWP Collaborative Project: Application submitted by a partnership comprised of two or more community water systems and two additional organizations, one of which must be a county level entity. The partnership will form a County Source Water Collaborative (with commitment of County Commissioners and/or County Planning Department, etc.) to conduct source water protection public education and implement a priority drinking water protection action within the County. Maximum funding: $8,000/project.
“The Chesapeake Bay Foundation commends Gov. Wolf’s decision to cease issuing new permits for natural gas extraction in the Commonwealth’s parks and forests. Pennsylvania’s forests and our natural landscapes provide real and measureable benefits well beyond vistas. Forests provide natural flood control, clean the air, keep drinking water sources clean, and support a number of important industries.
“CBF does not oppose natural gas development if done safely, nor have we called for a permanent ban on gas development in the region. But because of concerns regarding the unknown large-scale impacts of the industry, in 2011 CBF called for and continues to believe a federal study of cumulative impacts of all unconventional natural gas extraction in the Chesapeake Bay watershed is necessary. No such study has been initiated, however.
“Our goal is to ensure that energy development in Pennsylvania and the Chesapeake Bay region takes place in as safe and environmentally responsible a manner as possible.”
The Wildlife Leadership Academy in Lewisburg, Union County, is now accepting applications for their 2015 summer field schools from youth ages 14-17 and adults. Adults serve as mentors and participate alongside the students. School teachers are encouraged to apply as mentors.
The Wildlife Leadership Academy is a year-round program that focuses on wildlife/fisheries conservation and leadership development. The mission of the Academy is to empower youth to become ambassadors for wildlife conservation in order to ensure a sustained wildlife legacy for future generations.
The Academy begins with an intensive, five day residential field school experience that focuses on a fish or wildlife species as a springboard for exploring biology, habitat, and conservation issues. Youth also develop leadership skills engaging in team-building activities, educational presentations, and mock “town hall” meetings on current topics.
Four field schools are available for youth and adults to apply to this summer: Pennsylvania Bucktails, white-tailed deer focus at Stone Valley Recreation Area in Huntingdon County, June 16-20; Pennsylvania Brookies, brook trout and coldwater conservation focus at Sieg Conference Center in Clinton County, July 7-11; Pennsylvania Drummers, Ruffed Grouse focus at Powdermill Nature Reserve in Westmoreland County, July 21-25, and Pennsylvania Ursids, black bear focus at Stone Valley Recreation Area in Huntingdon County, August 2-6.
As a result of the intensive field school training, students develop leadership skills and considerable knowledge about conservation issues specific to the theme of the Wildlife Leadership Academy program that they attended.
Following their field school experience, students complete conservation outreach in their home communities that focuses on environmental education, community service, media engagement, and/or participation in the arts.
Student Luke Benzinger of York County describes his participation in the program as “life changing”.
He shared, “My whole life changed since attending the Wildlife Leadership Academy where I talked to so many knowledgeable adults who wanted to spend time with other teenagers that were there with me. These adults opened my eyes to what I could do to teach everyone else in the world about the passion I have for the outdoors.”
A New Addition – The Black Bear-Focused Field School
Led by the Pennsylvania Institute for Conservation Education, the Wildlife Leadership Academy is a cooperative initiative and brings the experts to the students. Participants are taught by and interact with conservation professionals daily. These professionals represent agencies, conservation organizations and universities from across the state.
For the first time, the Institute is adding a bear-focused field school, Pennsylvania Ursids, to the summer line up.
Wildlife biologist, Gary Alt, who coordinated the Pennsylvania Game Commission's black bear research and management program for over 25 years, and who has also been involved with the Wildlife Leadership Academy summer program since its start in 2007, will be leading the instruction and development of the bear-focused field school.
Gary notes his respect for the Wildlife Leadership Academy program and the importance of teaching the next generation of conservation leaders, "For me, it has been an amazing inspiration and honor to be involved in a program that literally changes the lives of impressionable young students, providing them with new tools and confidence to succeed in life, and providing society with hope, support, and leadership skills for the conservation challenges that will arise long after we are gone."
An Opportunity for School Teachers
The Academy offers an incredible opportunity, not only for Pennsylvania youth, but for teachers as well to be engaged in a high quality, inspirational and unique educational setting. Teachers learn alongside the youth participants, serving as the primary mentors for the youth as they push themselves academically. Teachers who participate also have the opportunity to receive college credits and/or 40 ACT credits.
Adult participant Claire Orner described the experience as well thought-out.
In reference to the Wildlife Leadership Academy, she said, “It is welcoming and fun; challenging with the ability to stretch each participant to grow; inspiring with dedicated instructors and staff to ensure success and growth; and supportive as they set up collaborative networking and professional development for both adult and youth participants.“
Youth Participants Become Community Leaders
Students return to their communities sharing what they have learned. They keep a record book of their conservation outreach efforts. Top outreach achievements qualify students for educational field trips, opportunities to return to field school tuition-free as mentors, and for college scholarships. Through field school and outreach projects, students learn and implement valuable life skills, such as leadership, communication, and responsibility.
Kayley Dillon of Columbia County, a student at the Pennsylvania Bucktails field school commented, “Wildlife Leadership Academy has made me so much more confident in myself. Before field school, I hated being the center of attention and making presentations. Now I'm the first person to volunteer for everything.”
Academy youth have taken their mission to be ambassadors for conservation to heart. To date, graduates have conducted 932 conservation education, communication, and service projects; engaged in more than 4,000 contact hours with the public; and reached an audience of more than 20,000 Pennsylvania citizens across the Commonwealth.
With 200 students coming through the Academy over the last eight years, Institute Director Michele Kittell said, "These participants are the next generation to speak for conservation of our natural resources."
"We believe the leadership of Academy youth in their home communities will inspire others to care more, and therefore act more on behalf of conservation and the environment,” she said.
Applications for the 2015 field schools can be downloaded at the Wildlife Leadership Academy website. The application deadline is April 1, 2015 for youth and adult mentors.
The Wildlife Leadership Academy is a cooperative initiative involving state agencies and conservation organizations and is administered by the Pennsylvania Institute for Conservation Education whose mission is to connect people, nature and community.
Expert instructors at the field school include representatives from Kutztown University, Game Commission, Fish and Boat Commission, Pennsylvania State University, the Ruffed Grouse Society, Trout Unlimited, Quality Deer Management Association, and many more.
For more information, contact Institute Director, Michele Kittell, by email to: firstname.lastname@example.org or 570-245-8518 or Program Coordinator, Katie Cassidy by email to: email@example.com or -570-939-5109.
This Blog is a companion to www.PaEnvironmentDigest.com, the weekly online newsletter published by Crisci Associates, Harrisburg, PA.
I can be contacted at 717-576-0420 or by sending email to: DHess@CrisciAssociates.com.
I served as Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection from 2001 to 2003, Executive Deputy at DEP from 1995 to 2001, as staff to the PA Senate Environmental Committee and various positions in the former Department of Environmental Resources, working on environmental issues for nearly 40 years.