Wednesday, March 31, 2021

DCNR Good Natured Pennsylvanians: Claire Jantz, Chair, Friends Of Michaux State Forest

Claire Jantz is a founding member and Chair of the
Friends of Michaux State Forest, working with DCNR to protect more than 85,500 acres of public land.

She was awarded the 2020 Spirit of South Mountain Award, given for her work that has made a big impact in advancing a positive and sustainable future for the South Mountain landscape.

As a professor in the Geography-Earth Science Department at Shippensburg University she teaches introduction to sustainability, urban geography, biogeography, and land use.

Claire works to ensure her students understand the importance and significance of public lands -- for people, flora and fauna, and healthy ecosystems.

“I also want them to see that successful conservation is a collaborative process and requires people from different perspectives working together towards a common goal,” Claire says -- something she does regularly.

Claire also serves on multiple South Mountain Partnership committees, the Central Pennsylvania Conservancy board, is a supporter of the Cumberland Valley Rails-to-Trails Council; and is a member of the Rotary Club of Shippensburg, Borough of Shippensburg Zoning Hearing Board, and Shade Tree Commission.

Living close to the forest, it’s easy for Claire to head into the woods to hike and bike.

Trips to Michaux, and a connection to the area’s history, culture, scenic beauty, and its role in supporting globally important ecosystems has become an important part of her life.

Claire wanted to give back to this public resource and answered the call from the Pennsylvania Parks and Forest Foundation to form a Friends Group.

“I personally love doing anything related to outreach and education, so I’ve really enjoyed organizing and attending our “Hike through…” programs where we learn from local experts about different aspects of the forest,” Claire says. “I am also really excited that we will soon be launching a volunteer stewardship program.”

Members take on a wide variety of tasks with much time devoted to picking up litter and holding organized litter pickups.

Other projects include sign painting, building habitat boxes, and helping to maintain the shooting range.

“It’s been a wonderful experience,” Claire says. “We have learned so much about the forest from the rangers and other DCNR staff, and from other Friends Group members, it has made me appreciate Michaux State Forest even more.”

Know of a good natured Pennsylvanian who is passionate about outdoor recreation and/or conservation that we should feature? Contact DCNR by sending an email to:  to nominate someone.

  For more information on state parks and forests and recreation in Pennsylvania, visit DCNR’s website, Click Here to sign up for the Resource newsletter, Visit the Good Natured DCNR Blog,  Click Here for upcoming events, Click Here to hook up with DCNR on other social media-- Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Flickr.

(Reprinted from March 31 DCNR Resource newsletter.  Click Here to sign up for your own copy.)

Related Article:

-- South Mountain Partnership Recognizes Dr. Claire Jantz With Spirit Of South Mountain Award

Related Articles This Week:

-- DCNR Blog: Support Tree Planting Along Streams And In Communities 

-- PA Parks & Forests Foundation Announces Haiku Poetry Contest On Natural Preservation To Honor PA Environmental Rights Amendment

-- Brodhead Watershed Assn.: State Game Land Forests - Essential Services Courtesy Of Mother Nature, Game Commission In Monroe County 

-- March 31 DCNR Resource Newsletter

[Posted: March 31, 2021]

Volunteers Needed! Tree Planting April 17 In Centralia, Columbia County

Eastern PA Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation and its partners are seeking volunteers for a tree planting April 17 in Centralia, Columbia County starting at 10:00 a.m.

The goal of the project is to plant 250 apple trees in the now deserted areas of Centralia.

EPCAMR is leading a project funded by ISI and Mental Insight Foundation to help beautify the area while offsetting our carbon footprint, improving the wildlife habitat of the area, and promoting ecosystem restoration of the abandoned mine-scarred landscape.

Beautifying Centralia will help keep people from seeing the town as a dumping ground for trash. 

EPCAMR has also partnered with Keystone 10 Million Trees Partnership, who are donating shelters for the trees as well as native trees for a fall planting to continue the legacy during the next annual cleanup in October 2021.

EPCAMR also hopes the area will become an official Monarch Butterfly Waystation. EPCAMR will grow milkweed and other pollinator plants. They also  plan to work with local community programs to raise butterflies, culminating in a fall release of the butterflies at the location.

Click Here to register as a volunteer and for much more information.

For more information on programs, initiatives, other upcoming events and how you can become involved, visit the Eastern PA Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation website.

[Posted: March 31, 2021]  PA Environment Digest

Interns Wanted: DEP, DCNR Accepting Applications For Paid Internship Positions

Both the departments of Environmental Protection and Conservation and Natural Resources are accepting applications for internship positions.

The number of intern positions in both agencies has been reduced as a result of recent budget cuts.

Click Here for available intern positions and deadlines for applying.

[Posted: March 31, 2021]  PA Environment Digest

DEP Awards $2.4 Million In Driving PA Forward Cleaner Vehicle Funding In 7 Counties

On March 31, the Department of Environmental Protection announced $2,400,969 in
Driving PA Forward grants to cleaner fuel transportation projects that will take 62 older diesel vehicles off the road to help improve air quality in many communities. 

The grant funding comes from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Pennsylvania’s share of the national settlement with Volkswagen Group of America for cheating on EPA emissions tests.

“These Driving PA Forward grants are a fast lane to reducing local air pollution, replacing older vehicles that are routine parts of Pennsylvanians’ daily lives, such as school buses and trash collection trucks, with cleaner fuel versions to make school grounds and communities healthier places to be,” said DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell. 

The nine funded projects will replace older diesel vehicles with new cleaner diesel or compressed natural gas-powered vehicles. 

Over their lifetimes, the projects are expected to prevent emission of nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, fine particulate matter, and hydrocarbons, as well as helping to reduce carbon dioxide. 

Five projects are in Environmental Justice areas, where at least 20 percent of residents have incomes below the federal poverty line and/or 30 percent identify as a non-white minority.

Vehicles generate 47 percent of nitrogen oxides in the air statewide, 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 Department of Health has found that asthma-related emergency room visits increase when air quality is very poor.

Driving PA Forward launched in 2018 with the goal of permanently reducing nitrogen oxide air pollution in Pennsylvania 27,700 tons by supporting cleaner fuel transportation projects with funding from the Commonwealth’s $118.5 million settlement with Volkswagen. 

Driving PA Forward includes eight programs that fund a range of new transportation projects to improve air quality and help slow climate change.

The following projects received grant funding in this round:  

Allegheny County

-- Allegheny Transportation Services: $174,375 to replace nine older diesel school buses with nine new cleaner diesel ones. Allegheny Transportation Services provides student transportation for East Allegheny School District, Woodland Hills School District, Pittsburgh Public Schools, Elizabeth Forward School District, and Riverview School District.

-- Pennsylvania Coach Lines: $215,250 to replace 10 older diesel school buses with 10 new cleaner diesel ones. Pennsylvania Coach Lines provides daily transportation for over 20,000 children in southwestern Pennsylvania, including in the South Allegheny School District and Clairton City School District. 

Beaver County

-- Valley Waste Service: $327,997 to replace four older diesel trash collection trucks with four new compressed natural gas-powered trash trucks and one older diesel wheel loader with a new clean diesel wheel loader. Valley Waste Service operates commercial and residential trash and recycling collection routes from the transfer station and garage facility in Beaver Falls, serving surrounding municipalities.

Butler County

-- Seneca Landfill: $374,556 to replace two older diesel off-road trucks with two new clean diesel off-road trucks and one older diesel bulldozer with a new electric-drive bulldozer. 

-- Vogel Disposal Service: $262,600 to replace four older diesel trash collection trucks with four new, compressed natural gas-powered trash trucks. Mars-based Vogel Disposal Service operates multiple commercial and residential trash and recycling collection routes in the northern suburbs of Pittsburgh.

Cambria County

-- McIlwain School Bus Lines: $200,000 to replace 10 older diesel school buses with 10 new clean diesel school buses. Based in Johnstown, McIlwain provides transportation for students in Cambria and Somerset counties.

Clearfield County

-- Fullington School Bus: $219,887 to replace 10 older, diesel school buses with 10 new clean diesel school buses, operating in school districts in the county.

Delaware County

-- Eastern Concrete Materials: $443,601 to replace eight older diesel cement mixer trucks with eight new clean diesel ones. The cement trucks operate primarily in the Delaware County area, delivering cement and other building materials to job sites.

Mercer County

-- Tri-County Industries: $192,702 to replace four older diesel trash collection trucks with four new compressed natural gas-powered ones.  TCI operates commercial and residential trash and recycling collection routes from its transfer station and garage facility in Grove City, serving surrounding municipalities.

The projects in Allegheny, Cambria, Clearfield, and Delaware counties serve Environmental Justice areas.

The clean diesel funding program has now awarded over $5.6 million in Driving PA Forward grants to replace 135 older diesel vehicles, including school buses, trash hauling trucks, trash compactor vehicles, dump trucks, cement mixers, street sweepers, and bulldozers, with new clean diesel or alternative fuel vehicles. Grants have also helped install idle reduction technology on six train locomotives.

Businesses, nonprofits, and government agencies in Pennsylvania can currently apply to the level 2 electric vehicle charging funding program. 

Applications for other types of clean transportation projects will be accepted in the coming months. Find information at Driving PA Forward.

Other Grant Programs

These clean vehicle-related programs are now accepting applications--

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

December 31-- DEP Energy Efficiency Loan Fund (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)

[Posted: March 31, 2021]  PA Environment Digest

DCNR Blog: Support Tree Planting Along Streams And In Communities

There’s now a way to donate to planting trees along streams and in communities!

The newly established Keystone Tree Fund can accept direct donations of any size, as well as receiving $3 donations when you renew your driver’s license or vehicle registration.

“Across the Commonwealth, we are seeing growing understanding and interest in planting trees as a natural solution to many issues -- for climate resilience, improving water and air quality, and helping with flooding,” DCNR Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn said. “The Keystone Tree Fund gives everyone the opportunity to support that work.”

Donating to the Keystone Tree Fund

The Keystone Tree Fund includes a voluntary $3 check-off box on Pennsylvania driver’s license and vehicle registration online applications.

In January alone, $23,000 came into the fund -- $3 at a time.

The fund also can accept direct donations that will support the existing TreeVitalize and Streamside Forest Buffer programs through DCNR.

Ideas include:

-- Memorial contributions in honor of a friend or loved one

-- Birthday party contributions instead of gifts

-- End of year charitable donations

-- Offsets for your carbon footprint

Donations can be made out to “DCNR c/o Keystone Tree Fund,” and mailed to:

PA DCNR Bureau of Forestry

ATTN: Rural and Community Forestry

400 Market St., 6th Floor

Harrisburg, PA 17105

House Bill 374, which outlined the Keystone Tree Fund, was signed by Governor Tom Wolf in November 2019. Money also can be appropriated to the fund through the budget process.

Supporting Streamside Forest Buffers and Urban Trees

Funds in the Keystone Tree Fund will be used by DCNR to help plant urban trees, and trees along streams to assist with water quality.

Trees remove from the atmosphere and store carbon dioxide -- critical to helping address climate change.

Streamside Buffers

DCNR is leading the effort involving many partners from all levels of government and many non-profits who also plant and fund streamside buffers.

Trees are one of the most cost-effective tools for improving local water quality.

Streamside tree and shrub plantings can:

-- Filter the runoff of pollutants from the land

-- Control erosion

-- Slow down runoff during heavy rains

-- Provide privacy and shade

-- Cool stream temperatures

-- Improve fish and pollinator habitat

Pennsylvania has a goal of planting more than 86,000 acres of stream buffers statewide to improve rivers and streams in the commonwealth and help the Chesapeake Bay.


Tree-lined streets make communities look great, and they also clean the air, provide shade to cool buildings and paved areas, increase property values, and help control stormwater.

TreeVitalize is a public-private partnership established by DCNR to help build capacity within communities to plan for, plant, and care for trees.

It also offers educational trainings to help citizens understand the diverse benefits of trees and the importance of properly planting and maintaining them.

Volunteer to Plant Trees

Like to get your hands dirty instead? Here are some ways to find volunteer options:

-- Volunteer opportunities are occurring in state parks and forests with safety protocols in place. Check the DCNR Calendar of Events.

-- Volunteer with the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay in Pennsylvania.

-- Join the Keystone Ten Million Trees Partnership.

-- Check the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society Tree Programs or TreeVitalize Pittsburgh

-- Call your local Penn State Cooperative Extension office or municipality.

Related Articles:

-- DCNR Blog: Forested Stream Buffers Grow Clean Water And Local Businesses

-- DCNR Posts Daily, Statewide Wildfire Danger Maps To Highlight Spring Wildfire Season

[Posted: March 31, 2021]  PA Environment Digest

DCNR Posts Daily, Statewide Wildfire Danger Maps To Highlight Spring Wildfire Season

The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources posts daily statewide Wildlife Danger maps to help educate the public to the potential danger from wildfires.

Two maps are posted-- the Observed Wildfire Danger Map which shows wildfire danger today and the Wildfire Danger Forecast Map which shows the expected wildfire danger tomorrow. 

Click Here for a guide to wildfire ratings.

Wildfire Causes

The greatest danger of wildfires in Pennsylvania occurs during the spring months of March, April, and May, and the autumn months of October and November. 

In Pennsylvania, 99 percent of all wildfires are caused by people.

Certain conditions are necessary for a wildfire to occur:

-- An available fuel source, such as dried grass or leaves

-- Dry conditions, including low relative humidity

-- An ignition source -- some way for the fire to start

The first two factors occur most frequently in Pennsylvania during spring and autumn. As the spring sun climbs higher in the sky, days become longer and warmer.

The trees are bare during this time, allowing sunlight to reach the forest floor, warming the ground, and drying surface fuels.

Coupled with strong and dry spring winds, this leads to a tremendous amount of combustible fuels.

The third factor, an ignition source, also frequently occurs during these periods.

One of the major causes of forest fires in Pennsylvania is debris burning. A careless person burning trash or yard waste can be responsible for causing wildfires that burn thousands of acres of valuable Pennsylvania forests.

These fires most frequently start in someone’s backyard and travel through dead grass and leaves into bordering woodlands.

Of course, wildfires can occur during any month and any time of day, destroying woodlands and wildlife habitat, and threatening human lives, homes, and buildings.

For more information on reducing the risks of wildfires, visit DCNR's Wildfires In PA webpage.

  For more information on state parks and forests and recreation in Pennsylvania, visit DCNR’s website, Click Here to sign up for the Resource newsletter, Visit the Good Natured DCNR Blog,  Click Here for upcoming events, Click Here to hook up with DCNR on other social media-- Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Flickr.

[Posted: March 31, 2021]  PA Environment Digest

Berks Conservation District Receives National Assn. Of Conservation Districts Grant

On March 31, the
National Association of Conservation Districts announced $1 million in urban agriculture conservation funding for 20 conservation districts across 14 states.

The Berks County Conservation District received one of the grants to provide technical assistance for the Cultivating Communities initiative developed by the City of Readings Victory Garden Task Force to address soil health, stormwater runoff and nonpoint source pollution, climate change resiliency and food security within environmental justice communities.

“The Urban Agriculture Conservation Grants provide opportunities for conservation districts to continue their great work in new and different ways,” NACD President Michael Crowder said. “The projects we’re announcing today will help conservation districts reach new audiences and build new programs to provide technical assistance in a variety of community-oriented settings.”

NACD and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) first partnered through the Urban Agriculture Conservation Grant Initiative in 2016 to support technical assistance activities related to community-oriented agricultural programs. 

Including this announcement, NACD and NRCS have awarded more than $5.6 million in funding for 122 grants in 35 states.

Click Here for the complete announcement.

[Posted: March 31, 2021]  PA Environment Digest

Subscribe To Receive Updates:

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner