Thursday, May 13, 2021

Chesapeake Bay Foundation: Student Leaders Continue To Carry The Torch In Pennsylvania

By B.J. Small, PA Communications Coordinator, CBF

A newly created Chesapeake Bay Club brings the spirit of CBF's Student Leadership program into college-- 


Graduates of CBF's high school Student Leadership Program, who learned how to take active roles in clean water efforts in Pennsylvania, have carried their passion to college, creating a Chesapeake Bay Club at Penn State University's main campus.
"We wanted to create a club that got students outside, gave them some professional development experience, as well as exposure to different careers in the outdoor field," says Penn State Sophomore Anne Puchalsky. She is a Cumberland Valley High School grad with a wildlife and fisheries science major with a forestry minor. "We wanted to create the club to get like-minded people involved and also working to save the Chesapeake Bay."

The club was founded in 2020 during Puchalsky's freshman year at the university. She is president and co-founder with fellow CBF Student Leadership Council alumni Emily Stambaugh, Isaac Nulton, and Anna Pauletta.

"We wanted to get students outside into their watershed and focus on issues with water quality at the local level," Puchalsky said. "We have a Bay focus, but a lot of our students that are from Pennsylvania don't necessarily live in the Bay watershed, so it's focusing on environmental issues around Penn State and in local watersheds and what they can do to help."

The club has a list of 25 members, and meetings have been online since the university shut down club activities because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Their first activity was planting 100 trees at Tri-Municipal Park in Centre Hall, about 10 miles east of the university on April 24. Six members, including Puchalsky and Pauletta appreciated the opportunity to get together outside.

To make it happen, Puchalsky leaned on her CBF experience. "We learned discipline, and how to run meetings and plan events," she said. "I think planning our own student action programs also really helped when it came to college-level classes."

While collegians Puchalsky and Pauletta, a senior, were planting trees at Centre Hall, current CBF student leader Lauren Braught was conducting a tree planting 80 miles to the south.

Braught, a high school senior, was leading the planting of 100 trees at a Girl Scout camp in Halifax.

The event kicked off the Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania's portion of a nationwide campaign to plant five million trees in the next five years.  [Read more here.]

It was also the day a new tree-focused fun patch was unveiled and available for all Girl Scouts in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

The day also happened to be the third anniversary of the Keystone 10 Million Trees Partnership, coordinated by CBF. The partnership provided the trees and supplies for both plantings.

Two years earlier, almost to the day, Puchalsky, Pauletta, and Braught shared another historic moment. 

On April 23, 2019, they and other CBF student leaders stood behind Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf as he signed a bill designating the Eastern hellbender as the Commonwealth's official state amphibian.  [Read more here.]

For two years, CBF Student Leadership Council members spearheaded the campaign to recognize the Eastern hellbender and create greater awareness of the critical need to reduce pollution in Pennsylvania's rivers and streams. 

They studied hellbenders extensively, installed nesting boxes in several Pennsylvania streams, met with legislators, and wrote the first draft of the bill that was signed.

As of October 2020, the club at Penn State is considered an official affiliate of the CBF Student Leadership Program. 

"Through this affiliation, the PSU Chesapeake Bay Club will be able to schedule annual environmental education field experiences with CBF and have the opportunity to build connections to regional watershed conservation partners to support restoration efforts," said Kassie Fenn, CBF's Student Leadership and Education Manager in Pennsylvania. "The Penn State students will also be supported by CBF Student Leadership when advocating for clean water, either at the state or federal level."

At Penn State, members of the new club would also like to participate in stream cleanups, small stream restoration projects, and volunteer and help with trail maintenance at parks around State College.

"We want to do similar kinds of things that the student leadership program did for us. Engaging other students and educating them about the Bay," President Puchalsky added. "Providing a space for students to grow their communications skills as well. And have a professional advancement for students. Empowering students that have similar interests to work together to make changes."

For more on Chesapeake Bay-related issues in Pennsylvania, visit the Chesapeake Bay Foundation-PA webpage.  Click Here to sign up for Pennsylvania updates (bottom of left column).  Click Here to support their work.

Also visit the Keystone 10 Million Trees Partnership to learn how you can help clean water grow on trees.

CBF has over 275,000 members in Bay Watershed.

[PA Chesapeake Bay Plan

[For more information on Pennsylvania’s plan, visit DEP’s Chesapeake Bay Office webpage.

[How Clean Is Your Stream?

[DEP’s Interactive Report Viewer allows you to zoom in on your own stream or watershed to find out how clean your stream is or if it has impaired water quality using the latest information in the draft 2020 Water Quality Report.]

(Photo: Chesapeake Bay Club at Penn State University members Anna Pauletta, Kaleb Lange, Quinn Nagy, and Anne Puchalsky with Olivia Krum of Centre Hall and Jillian Henock of Perry County.)

 

(Reprinted from the Chesapeake Bay Foundation Blog.)

Related Articles:

-- Gov. Wolf Joins Chesapeake Bay Watershed Governors, Officials Urging Congress To Support ‘Billion For The Bay Initiative' To Jumpstart Final Restoration Efforts 

-- Bay Journal: Chesapeake Bay Restoration Stumbles In Race To Finish Line; Promised Outcomes Lagging Badly Or In Limbo

-- PA Senate Passes Bill To Control Overuse Of Fertilizer On Turf 

-- Bay Journal Forum: New Wave Of Streamside Forest Plantings Needed Now

-- Lebanon Valley Conservancy Volunteers Plant 1,000 Trees, Native Plant Gardens, Award College Scholarship

-- Student Project Brings Trees And Music To Water Quality Cleanup Efforts In Lancaster County; June 5 ‘The Big Do’ Celebration 

-- Public Invited To Virtual Cumberland County Water Resources Forum May 19

-- Conservation Districts: Need Technical Assistance With Watershed Monitoring?  Check Out C-SAW

[Posted: May 13, 2021]  PA Environment Digest

DEP Awards $3.4 Million+ To Support Cleaner Fuel Transportation Projects To Improve Air Quality, Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions

On May 13, the Department of Environmental Protection announced the
award of more than $3.4 million in 2020 Alternative Fuel Incentive Grants (AFIGs) to 20 cleaner fuel transportation projects statewide that will help improve air quality and public health and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to address climate change.

Projects were funded in Allegheny, Berks, Bucks, Dauphin, Delaware, Erie, Indiana, Jefferson, Lackawanna, Lancaster, Lehigh, Montgomery, Philadelphia, Washington and Westmoreland counties.

“These grants help cities, counties, school districts, colleges, as well as delivery, trash hauling, and other companies across Pennsylvania that want to be proactive in reducing air pollution from transportation,” said DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell.  “Their projects will help Pennsylvanians breathe cleaner air at school, in their communities, and at their workplaces.”

The AFIG Program funds projects that replace older gasoline- or diesel-fueled vehicles with cleaner fuel vehicles to reduce emissions of carbon monoxide, particulate matter, volatile organic compounds, nitrogen oxides, and carbon dioxide, a principal greenhouse gas. 

The program supports electric, ethanol, biodiesel, compressed natural gas (CNG), propane gas, and other cleaner fuel vehicles. It also supports installation of fueling stations for these vehicles.  

Transportation generates 47 percent of nitrogen oxides emissions in Pennsylvania, contributing to the formation of ground-level ozone. This affects the health of children; older people; people with lung diseases, such as asthma and emphysema; and those who work or are active outdoors. 

The state Department of Health has found that asthma-related emergency room visits increase when air quality is very poor. 

Vehicles release 21 percent of carbon dioxide emissions in the state, contributing to climate change. 

The 2020 AFIG funded projects will put 209 cleaner fuel school buses, garbage trucks, package delivery trucks, and other vehicles in use, including the first electric tractor-trailer to receive AFIG funding. 

Four projects will install a propane fueling station and 10 electric vehicle (EV) chargers, including two that will be solar powered. 

More than half the projects will help improve air quality in Environmental Justice communities, or census tracts where 20 percent or more individuals live at or below the federal poverty line and/or 30 percent or more individuals identify as a non-white minority, according to federal data. 

Collectively the projects are anticipated to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by over 900 metric tons per year. 

Click Here for a list of projects supported.

For more information on this program, visit DEP’s Alternative Fuel Incentive Grants webpage.

Other Clean Vehicle Funding

These grant and rebate programs to support clean fuel projects are now accepting applications--

December 31-- DEP Alternative Fueled Vehicle Rebates (apply anytime)

December 31-- DEP Fast Charging Hydrogen Fueling Grants (first-come, first-served)

December 31-- DEP Level 2 Electric Vehicle Charging Station Rebates (apply anytime)

For more information on environmental programs in Pennsylvania, visit DEP’s website, Click Here to sign up for DEP’s newsletter, sign up for DEP Connects events, sign up for DEP’s eNotice, visit DEP’s BlogLike DEP on Facebook, Follow DEP on Twitter and visit DEP’s YouTube Channel.

NewsClip:

ErieT: Erie-Built Electric Locomotive Proved Itself In California Desert; Could It Be Headed To Market Soon?    Sen. Yaw’s SB 284 would tax these innovations by requiring bonds on manufacturing facilities. Read more here.

[Posted: May 13, 2021]  PA Environment Digest

Student Project Brings Trees And Music To Water Quality Cleanup Efforts In Lancaster County; June 5 ‘The Big Do’ Celebration

The
Stone Independent School in Lancaster is making a “Big Do” out of bringing trees and tunes to Lancaster County.

Students at the private school are coordinating the planting of 5,000 trees by June 5, when the project dubbed “The Big Do” will celebrate conservation and a concert with a six-band, live show at Penn Cinema, 541 Airport Road, Lititz.

“One of the values at the school is to make the world a better place and I don’t know how you can make the world measurably better than by planting trees,” said Maxwell Davis, a senior at the private school and organizer of “The Big Do.” “We’ve got really significant environmental problems in Lancaster and that really moved me,” Davis added. “We were thinking about how we can do something and create as much change as possible.”

“The Big Do” is nearly halfway toward its goal of planting 5,000 trees and volunteers are welcome to help at future public plantings. In addition to Lancaster County, one is planned for East York. 

The project is also working with private landowners to plant trees.

The Keystone 10 Million Trees Partnership, coordinated by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) is providing trees for “The Big Do.” The partnership’s goal is to plant 10 million trees in the Commonwealth by the end of 2025. 

Trees are one of the most cost-effective tools for reducing polluted runoff into local waters. They also sequester carbon which is important for cleaner air and mitigating climate change.

“We really appreciate that students at the Stone Independent School are taking an active role in improving and protecting their local environment by planting trees,” said Shannon Gority, CBF Executive Director in Pennsylvania. “These young people set a fine example for the rest of us.” 

Davis said he hopes “The Big Do” will be an annual event and doubles the number of trees planted every year.

The concert on June 5 is open to the public. Bands scheduled to perform include The Districts, Laddie Moran, Big Boy Brass, the Neilsen Family Band, Bus, and Brad Armstrong.

“We want to incentivize as many students as possible to plant trees and any student who plants a tree gets half-off a ticket to the concert,” Davis said. He credits two other students with helping to organize plantings and production of the concert, and Mike Simpson, the Head of School, for being a mentor and playing a key role.

To register to help at a tree planting, for more information, and tickets, visit The Big Do website.

[PA Chesapeake Bay Plan

[For more information on Pennsylvania’s plan, visit DEP’s Chesapeake Bay Office webpage.

[How Clean Is Your Stream?

[DEP’s Interactive Report Viewer allows you to zoom in on your own stream or watershed to find out how clean your stream is or if it has impaired water quality using the latest information in the draft 2020 Water Quality Report.]

Related Articles:

-- Gov. Wolf Joins Chesapeake Bay Watershed Governors, Officials Urging Congress To Support ‘Billion For The Bay Initiative' To Jumpstart Final Restoration Efforts 

-- Bay Journal: Chesapeake Bay Restoration Stumbles In Race To Finish Line; Promised Outcomes Lagging Badly Or In Limbo

-- PA Senate Passes Bill To Control Overuse Of Fertilizer On Turf 

-- Bay Journal Forum: New Wave Of Streamside Forest Plantings Needed Now

-- Lebanon Valley Conservancy Volunteers Plant 1,000 Trees, Native Plant Gardens, Award College Scholarship

-- Chesapeake Bay Foundation: Student Leaders Continue To Carry The Torch In Pennsylvania 

-- Public Invited To Virtual Cumberland County Water Resources Forum May 19

-- Conservation Districts: Need Technical Assistance With Watershed Monitoring?  Check Out C-SAW

[Posted: May 13, 2021]  PA Environment Digest

Gov. Wolf Joins Chesapeake Bay Watershed Governors, Officials Urging Congress To Support ‘Billion For The Bay Initiative' To Jumpstart Final Restoration Efforts

On May 13, the Governors of each of the states in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, the Mayor of Washington, D.C. and the Chair of the Chesapeake Bay Commission
wrote to the leaders of Congress asking them to support a new Billion For The Bay Initiative to jumpstart the final phase of Bay restoration efforts.

The letter was signed by Gov. Tom Wolf, Gov. John Carney (DE), Gov. Larry Hogan (MD), Gov. Andres Cuomo (NY), Gov. Ralph S. Northam (VA), Gov. Jim Justice (WV), Mayor Muriel Bowser of the District of Columbia and David L. Bulova, Chair, Chesapeake Bay Commission.

"We write today to request your support for a bold plan to stimulate state and local economies in the Mid-Atlantic region and restore America’s largest estuary – the Chesapeake Bay. 

"Our proposal is the Billion for the Bay Initiative: a significant and much needed infusion of new funds that will jumpstart the final phase of Bay restoration and put people to work building clean water infrastructure, including green infrastructure that will reduce stormwater and agricultural water pollution, the restoration of natural landscapes, and helping us adapt to the impacts of climate change.

"We face a 2025 deadline under the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) to meet pollution reduction goals that will ensure clean water in the Bay and its tributaries across six states and the District of Columbia. 

“While we are making great progress and appreciate recent increases in funding for the Environmental Protection Agency’s Chesapeake Bay Program, the lion’s share of fiscal responsibilities for these efforts falls on our jurisdictions. 

“As you know, state and local government budgets have been hit hard during the COVID-19 pandemic, making it much more difficult to afford wastewater treatment plant upgrades, enhanced stormwater management systems, stream, forest, and wetlands restoration, and agricultural best management practices necessary to restore the Bay. 

“Many individuals, including farmers and ratepayers who must share in the cost of these upgrades, are also struggling.

"The specific benefits of the Billion for the Bay Initiative are two-fold:

1. Enhance and maintain efforts to meet the 2025 deadline for Bay cleanup: Each of the Bay states and the District of Columbia have developed a jurisdiction specific Watershed Implementation Plan (WIP) identifying the most strategic practices and geographic regions for investment. 

In addition, our unique partnership has prepared a separate WIP to tackle pollution flowing over the Conowingo Dam. Distribution of the Billion for the Bay dollars should reflect our established priorities and can be distributed through existing programs within the Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Agriculture, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and National Fish and Wildlife Foundation that have proven track records of success. 

“This initiative would leverage significant state and local funding and energize private capital through conservation financing to support cost-effective, long-term environmental solutions.

2. Create jobs and grow economic activity: Every million dollars invested in clean water infrastructure can create more than 16 jobs, so the Billion for the Bay Initiative will also add tens of thousands of job opportunities to help spur our economic recovery. 

Further, a clean Bay will generate more than $22 billion dollars each year in new economic value from improved commercial and recreational fishing, reduced drinking water treatment costs, resilience to climate change, and improved property values and quality of life in the region.

“As you consider infrastructure and climate-related funding, we ask that you include the Billion for the Bay Initiative. 

“This is an opportunity to achieve the long-elusive goal of restoring the Chesapeake Bay, while creating significant new job opportunities, building resilience to climate change, and protecting landscapes and waterways across multiple states.

“We look forward to additional conversations with you and your colleagues from the region on how to design and implement this important program for maximum success.”

Click Here for a copy of the letter.

Reaction

Chesapeake Bay Foundation President William Baker issued this statement in reaction to the letter--

“The future of the Chesapeake Bay is now in jeopardy. Scientific recommendations to save it must be accelerated; if not, the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint will fail. The watershed states and their federal partners must increase investments to meet the 2025 goal. 

“This is especially critical for Pennsylvania and New York, which supply 50 percent of the Bay’s fresh water, and the Bay’s pollution.

“To finish the job, EPA leadership must embrace the Clean Water Act’s mandates and hold the states accountable. 

Pennsylvania’s current plan only achieves 75 percent of its nitrogen pollution reduction goal and has a self-identified shortfall of more than $300 million annually. 

“The vast majority of the pollution reduction needed must come from Pennsylvania. The majority of this new funding must be directed toward the Commonwealth.

“The Clean Water Blueprint is our last, best hope for clean water across the region. For our children and grandchildren, we must demand success.”

For more on Chesapeake Bay-related issues in Pennsylvania, visit the Chesapeake Bay Foundation-PA webpage.  Click Here to sign up for Pennsylvania updates (bottom of left column).  Click Here to support their work.

Also visit the Keystone 10 Million Trees Partnership to learn how you can help clean water grow on trees.

CBF has over 275,000 members in Bay Watershed.

[PA Chesapeake Bay Plan

[For more information on Pennsylvania’s plan, visit DEP’s Chesapeake Bay Office webpage.

[How Clean Is Your Stream?

[DEP’s Interactive Report Viewer allows you to zoom in on your own stream or watershed to find out how clean your stream is or if it has impaired water quality using the latest information in the draft 2020 Water Quality Report.]

Related Articles:

-- PA Farm Bureau Calls On Senate, House To Pass And Fund Legislation To Support On-Farm Conservation Efforts To Improve Water Quality

-- Bay Journal: Chesapeake Bay Restoration Stumbles In Race To Finish Line; Promised Outcomes Lagging Badly Or In Limbo

-- PA Senate Passes Bill To Control Overuse Of Fertilizer On Turf 

-- Bay Journal Forum: New Wave Of Streamside Forest Plantings Needed Now

-- Lebanon Valley Conservancy Volunteers Plant 1,000 Trees, Native Plant Gardens, Award College Scholarship

-- Student Project Brings Trees And Music To Water Quality Cleanup Efforts In Lancaster County; June 5 ‘The Big Do’ Celebration

-- Conservation Districts: Need Technical Assistance With Watershed Monitoring?  Check Out C-SAW

-- Public Invited To Virtual Cumberland County Water Resources Forum May 19

[Posted: May 13, 2021]  PA Environment Digest

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