Monday, September 23, 2019

Interns: Eli DePaulis Shares His Experience As An Intern At The Forest Heritage & Discovery Center In Franklin County

By Eli DePaulis, Wildlife Technology Program, Penn State DuBois

This summer I interned at the Pennsylvania Forestry Association’s Forest Heritage and Discovery Center in Fayetteville, Pennsylvania. 
I greeted visitors, interpreted the center displays, talked to visitors about the history of Pennsylvania’s forests, and answered visitors questions about forests and wildlife. In short, I did public engagement and environmental education.
Located directly across from the Caledonia State Park Office, the Discovery Center offers park visitors an opportunity to learn more about the history of Pennsylvania’s forests and the impact we have on the forests. 
The Discovery Center’s displays cover a range of topics including early conservation pioneers, the Civilian Conservation Corps, wildfire suppression, wildfire prevention, and natural resource extraction. 
Many of the displays contain artifacts from the early conservation movement that correspond to the display’s theme making the Discovery Center a must stop location for anyone visiting the Caledonia State Park area. 
The most interesting and rarest artifact in the Discovery Center is Gifford Pinchot’s State Forest Reserve Officer badge. 
After leaving the U.S. Forest Service, Pinchot became the Governor of Pennsylvania where he helped to expand what is now the Pennsylvania State Forest system. The Discovery Center not only has Pinchot’s badge but also paperwork from his successors detailing the history of the badge. 
In addition to Gifford Pinchot’s badge, the Discovery Center contains artifacts from early wildfire suppression work including fire tower table maps, crank phones, old Indian Tanks, and chainsaws. 
Just about every part of the Discovery Center is filled with artifacts like the ones listed above. 
All of the Discovery Center is family friendly. Every child that comes into the museum receive a free Smokey Bear souvenir to take home and gets to practice shooting off an Indian Tank fire pump. 
The most popular room with families in the Discovery Center is the Smokey Bear room. The whole room is devoted to Smokey Bear memorabilia. Children enjoy taking pictures with the life-sized Smokey Bears and usually try to “pet” Smokey. 
The Discovery Center is open on Saturdays and Sundays from Memorial Day to Labor Day 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.. 
If you are coming through the area, it is a very worthwhile stop.
[For more information on programs, initiatives and upcoming events, visit the PA Forestry Association website.]
[NOTE: Eli is currently a sophomore in the Wildlife Technology Program at Penn State DuBois from York Springs in Adams County.]
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