Tuesday, December 22, 2020

PA Parks & Forests Foundation Welcomes 3 New Board Members

On December 22, the
PA Parks and Forests Foundation announced it is welcoming three new members to their Board of Directors; Paul Fogal, Josie Byzek, and Mary Hirst.

“We are thrilled to welcome Paul, Josie and Mary to our Board of Directors. They bring a diverse set of experiences and skills to the Board but are united in their passion for and commitment to Pennsylvania’s state parks and forests,” said Brad Mallory, Board Chair.

“We are excited to welcome these new members to the Board of Directors of the Foundation,” said Marci Mowery, President of the Pennsylvania Parks and Forests Foundation. “Pennsylvania’s parks and forests benefit from the vast expertise the board of directors brings to the issues and challenges facing these special places.”

Paul Fogal

Paul Fogal is a founding partner of Pocono Whitewater, Skirmish, and Pocono Biking and has over 40 years of experience as a park concessionaire in the United States and Canada.

An avid traveler, Fogal has visited and recreated in all 7 continents. Through his business actively, Fogal has been involved in Pocono Mts. Visitors Bureau, Discover Lehigh Valley, Carbon Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development, America Outdoors, Friends of the Lehigh River, Lehigh Outfitters Association, Jim Thorpe Tourist Agency, and Wildlands Conservancy. 

He currently serves on the board of the Jim Thorpe Tourist Agency and Penn Forest Zoning Board, and has previous experience as a board member with the Delaware and Lehigh Heritage Corridor and the Rails to Trails Conservancy regional board. 

"I would like to thank PPFF for the opportunity to serve on the board and look forward to helping maintain the outstanding quality of our Parks and Forest resources for myself and future generations." Said Fogal.

Josie Byzek

Josie Byzek is the Executive Editor for New Mobility Magazine, an award-winning lifestyle magazine for wheelchair users that covers topics like travel, health & wellness, and parenting. 

Josie is past secretary for the Center for Independent Living of Central Pennsylvania, has served as a school board member of Susquehanna Township School District [Dauphin County] and has chaired the SPIL and Education Committee of the Pennsylvania Statewide Independent Living Council.

"There are so many accessible opportunities available in our state parks and forests, and I'm looking forward to helping the board connect Pennsylvanians with disabilities to these venues." Said Byzek.

Mary Hirst

Mary Hirst is a newly retired park manager from the Ole Bull State Park Complex, and the first female field park manager in the state park system. 

A lifelong park user, Hirst now volunteers as the chair and founding member of the Friends of Ole Bull State Park, is an EMT and the President of the Kettle Creek Ambulance Association. 

During the summer months, she can be found campground hosting, sharing her knowledge of the outdoors with visitors to state parks. With vast knowledge of the workings of our state parks system, her input will be valuable to the foundation.

“Parks have played an important role in my life and in the lives of so many people. PPFF provides an important service to parks, both through financial support and volunteer recruitment. I look forward to staying involved with, and lending my continued support to the state park system as a member of this board.” Said Hirst.

These three board members join the existing twelve members of the board, which include:

-- Chair, Brad Mallory, former Secretary, PA Dept. of Transportation

-- Vice Chair, Tina Molski, Director of Operations - REI's East Coast Distribution Center

-- Secretary, Mary Soderberg, Retired, Former State Budget Secretary

-- Treasurer, Dr. Jim Grace, retired, Deputy Secretary for Parks and Forestry

-- Brian Clark, esquire, Buchanan, Ingersoll and Rooney

-- George Fernandez, CEO, the Latino Connection

-- Kate Harper, esquire, Timoney Knox, LLP

-- Brad Jones, President and CEO, Harristown Enterprises Inc.

-- Rep. Mark Longietti, Member, PA House of Representatives

-- Eric Madden, Vice President/Deputy Chief Marketing Officer at Johnson, Mirmiran and Thompson, Inc

-- Maria Montero, External Affairs Manager at Pennsylvania Convention Center Authority

-- Eric Williams, Community Affairs Liaison for the City of Pittsburgh, Mayor Peduto’s Office.

For more information on programs, initiatives, special events and how you can get involved, visit the PA Parks & Forests Foundation website.  Click Here to sign up for regular updates from the Foundation,  Like them on Facebook or Follow them on Twitter or tune in to their YouTube ChannelClick Here to become a member of the Foundation.

The Foundation and their 46 chapters mobilize 65,000 volunteers annually to steward YOUR state parks and forests.

[Posted: December 22, 2020]  PA Environment Digest

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