Friday, September 29, 2023

Gettysburg Times: DCNR Secretary Dunn Stresses Connection Between Community And Protection Of Natural Resources Giving People ‘A Sense Of Place’ That Makes PA Unique

By Ken Knox, Gettysburg Times

The article originally appeared in the Gettysburg Times on November 9, 2015--

Supporters of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) were treated to a keynote speech by the organization's secretary, Cindy Adams Dunn, during an fundraiser dinner held at Hauser Estate Winery in Orrtanna [Adams County] Friday night.

The event, dubbed the Party for the Preserve, is an annual dinner held by the Strawberry Hill Nature Preserve, a non-profit education and conservation organization located on 609 acres in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, to sustain its operations and maintain its many programs, which include maintaining the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, protecting the wildlife found on its land, offering 10 miles of recreational trails open to the public, preserving unique cultural heritage sites and providing educational opportunities for children to become engaged with nature.

Dunn, who spoke of the role the local community plays to help the South Mountain region and on how supporting places like Strawberry Hill can influence state initiatives to protect and promote their homestead, started her speech off by recalling the efforts of Strawberry Hill founder Frances Morton Froelicher to support her late husband Hans' efforts to clean-up and protect the Swamp Creek Watershed.

"She understood the connection between community and conservation early on, maybe because she was close to Baltimore and the Chesapeake Bay, but she was right and was very much ahead of her time," Dunn posited.

Citing the 20,000 acres of fruitvale located in Central Pennsylvania, Dunn said, "People that live her probably take it for granted, but it's unique in the country, a combination of soils and topography and landscape and micro-climate that makes up the largest continuous fruitvale" and is "considered the cradle of conservation" in the region. 

"Early conservation leaders really started this conservation movement that in some way we're all part of, and it was really passed along campfires just over the mountain in Mont Alto," she noted.

Dunn went on to mention the "quaint, authentic villages" of the region, including Biglervaille, Arendtsville, Boiling Springs and Mount Holly, that allow people "to experience an authentic place" and connects them to the land around it. 

"You know where you are. It's not just Anywheresville," she added. "So many parts of the rest of the country have lost that sense of character, and people do relate to that sense of place. It's one of the things that makes Pennsylvania so attractive."

Noting that many young people are now moving back to the area because of Internet-related businesses that allow them to prosper in more rural areas, Dunn said, "People can choose where they want to live, and they can pick somewhere where they can raise their kids and go out on a trail and where they have quality of life and an authentic experience where the water's clean and safe, where food is local. And Pennsylvania really stands to gain from the fact that we've protected the natural resources of our land and kept our sense of place."

Dunn noted that that "connection of place" is critical in fostering "an involved and engaged citizenry to keep elected officials voting in favor of the practices that protect water and land" and who financially support land and water conservation. 

"Elected officials are only as good as the citizens that elect them and pressure them," she said. "And this area has a very strong civic leadership, whether it's Strawberry Hill or the various farm-related organizations and land conservancy that operate in and around the South Mountain region. and that really helps."

Turning her attention to Strawberry Hill, Dunn said the organization is serving a critical function in conservation efforts by launching initiatives that keep children engaged with nature.

"Climate control may be the largest external predator in our current time, but the largest internal impact and concern is the lack of engagement of youth with the outdoors," she stressed. 

"Less and less young people are engaged directly with nature. They're spending their time indoors, sitting in front of a screen of some kind for six hours. You need credible programming to introduce kids to the outdoors, like Strawberry Hill has to offer, and that's the thing that's going to spark that life in the kids of today."

Maintaining that more than 6,000 Pennsylvania kids benefit through conservation efforts and summer camps found at Strawberry Hill, Dunn said, "Some of those kids are going to go on to become deeply engaged in conservation, whether they work in the field or whether they just carry that ethic with them wherever they go.

Visit the Strawberry Hill Nature Preserve website and Strawberry Hill Preserve Facebook page for more information on their programs and resources.

            Visit Explore PA Trails and Get Outdoors PA for recreation areas near you.

            Visit the PA Parks & Forests Foundation’s Events webpage and DCNR’s Calendar of Events for activities happening near you.

              For more information on state parks and forests and recreation in Pennsylvania, visit DCNR’s website, 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.

(Photos: Resources, activities, involvement at Strawberry Hill; top middle black and white photo- founders Dr. Hans and Frances Froelicher.)

Issue Link:

-- Member Of Pine Creek Headwaters Protection Group Briefs DCNR Advisory Council On Siting Of Shale Gas Well Pad On State Forest Land To Accommodate Taking Gas From Private Land In Tioga County  [PaEN]

NewsClips This Week:

-- Spotlight PA: PA Budget Chips Away At $1.4 Billion Backlog Of Infrastructure Projects In State Parks, State Forests

-- CountryLiving Survey: Wellsboro, Tioga County Named #9; Milford, Pike County #28 of 55 Best Fall Towns In US For Foliage

-- Erie Times: Leaves In Erie Region Are Readying Their Fall Colors, Find Out When And Where To See Them

-- KDKA: Fall Foliage Report: Moderate Summer Sets Stage For ‘Very Colorful’ Autumn Across PA

-- Warren Times: Fall Foliage Inbound

-- Williamsport Sun: Celebrate PA Wilds With Walk In Penn’s Woods Sunday, Oct. 1

-- Save The Date: Keystone Coldwater Conference Feb. 23-24 In State College

-- WVIA: Greenways & Trails Summit Brings Experts From All Over The State To Scranton

-- WeConservePA: 2023 PA Greenways & Trails Summit Wrap-Up: A Scranton Success

-- Scranton Times: Scranton Opens 400-Acre State Forest Expansion To Public

-- Altoona Mirror: Altoona Water Authority, PA Environmental Council Work On Bike Trail Project

-- Bay Journal - Ad Crable: Oakland Dam Removed From North Branch Susquehanna River In Susquehanna County

-- TribLive: Ohiopyle Borough, Fayette County, Surrounded By Ohiopyle State Park, Holds Youghtoberfest Saturday To Raise Money For Sewer System Repairs

-- Warren Times Editorial: Recreation Office May Be One More Playground, One The Other Hand Outdoor Recreation Is A Vital Component Of Our Region’s Economy

-- TribLive: Allegheny County Man Takes 150-Mile Walk Of Faith On Great Allegheny Passage

-- Warren Times: Rain No Damper For 100-Year Allegheny National Forest Celebration

-- Warren Times: Sorensen's Win Historical Society’s Trails Of History Challenge In Allegheny National Forest

-- PennLive Guest Essay: Wildland Firefighters Facing Huge Federal Pay Cut - Here’s How Physically Demanding This Lifesaving Job Is

-- PA Environmental Council Blog: Prevent Invasive Species Migration - Clean, Drain, Dry

Related Articles This Week:

-- Member Of Pine Creek Headwaters Protection Group Briefs DCNR Advisory Council On Siting Of Shale Gas Well Pad On State Forest Land To Accommodate Taking Gas From Private Land In Tioga County  [PaEN]

-- DCNR Issues First Fall Foliage Report Of The Season - First Glimmers Of Autumn Are Here   [PaEN] 

-- DCNR, PA Forestry Assn., Partners Celebrate Pennsylvania Forests With Walk In Penn’s Woods Events Oct. 1  [PaEN]

-- The Conservation Fund, DCNR Add 436 Acres Of Forest Land To Pinchot State Forest In Lackawanna County With Financial Support From Williams Natural Gas Pipeline Company  [PaEN]

-- PennDOT Is Now Accepting Applications For Multimodal Transportation Project Funding, Including Bike, Trail, Walking Projects, Deadline Nov. 13

-- DCNR Blog: Trail Towns - Connecting The Outdoors And Communities - By Hanna Ryon, DCNR Intern To Office Of Outdoor Recreation 

-- AmeriCorps Member River Missal Joins PA Parks & Forests Foundation As Trail Training & Workday Coordinator  [PaEN]

-- DOE Awards DCNR $1 Million Grant To Provide Technical Assistance For Large Scale Carbon Storage And Regional Carbon Management Hubs  [PaEN]

[Posted: September 29, 2023]  PA Environment Digest

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