Friday, October 28, 2016

Nature Abounds Expands With Addition Of Biodiversity Program In Kiski-Conemaugh

Nature Abounds Friday announced it recently acquired Natural Biodiversity, a regional program focused on habitats and landscaping in the Kiski-Conemaugh watershed. The program was previously managed by the Conemaugh Valley Conservancy.  
Natural Biodiversity is the newest program under the Nature Abounds umbrella, which also includes signature programs like the Senior Environment Corps, Watch the Wild, IceWatch USA, Turtle Ambassadors, Climate Change Ambassadors, and Knitters for Nature’s Critters.
Moving forward, the program will engage Nature Abounds supporters in habitat and landscaping opportunities across the country.
“We’re really excited to have the Natural Biodiversity program under our umbrella and are looking forward to transitioning it from a regional program to a national one,” said Melinda Hughes, Nature Abounds President. “Natural Biodiversity has already engaged over 100,000 people in conservation education programs, mobilized 2,500 people in environmental service learning, and restored various tracts of land through habitat restoration and invasive species control projects, over the past 13 years…all at the regional level. Just thinking about the significant impact we will have at a national level is astonishing.”
The program will be led by Douglas M. Beri, Jr., who has worked for both Nature Abounds and Natural Biodiversity.  
“Through my experience with both organizations, I feel there is an organic fit for Natural Biodiversity at Nature Abounds,” said Beri. “Natural Biodiversity embodies the heart of local grassroots non-profit environmentalism which will be fundamental in advancing its focus through a national landscape as well as that of Nature Abounds. I am greatly humbled to have the opportunity to be a part of such a great merger and new direction for both organizations!”
A few of Natural Biodiversity’s past accomplishments are below:
-- Completed several habitat restoration projects, including one at the Park of 1889 (St. Michael PA) which engaged over 270 volunteers who planted over 900 individual plants representing more than 50 native Pennsylvania plant species.
This project was not just significant for its environmental importance, but also for the site's historic significance of being the bed of Lake Conemaugh which broke causing the Johnstown Flood of 1889, killing over 2000 residents downstream.
-- Pioneered invasive species education through the creation of a BioBullies educational supplement for schools. The educational supplement includes a website where educators can access exceptional resources to incorporate invasive species education into their classrooms.
-- Partnered with West Virginia University to develop a landscape-based predictive model to prioritize invasive species management activities within the Kiski-Conemaugh (PA) Watershed. The model utilized geographic data verified with site surveys to determine the susceptibility of a site to invasive species. The model can now be used to predict where invasive plants are likely to spread and aid in early detection and rapid response activities within a localized watershed.
-- Served as a local National Wildlife Federation (NWF) Habitat Stewards Ambassador host.
“Folks will start seeing changes to the Natural Biodiversity and Nature Abounds websites immediately, and the merging of the program will take place over the next several months,” said Hughes. “We also hope to reach out to past supporters of Natural Biodiversity and engage them in our efforts moving forward.”
For more information, visit the Nature Abounds website or send email to:

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