DEP awards environmental excellence awards to projects in the region | News

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Fifteen projects across the state — carried out by schools, businesses and community organizations — have been honored with a 2022 Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence through the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) of Pennsylvania.

“It’s always a privilege to spotlight people who go above and beyond to improve the environment and make our great outdoor spaces more accessible,” said DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell. “Each of the projects awarded this year will leave a positive and lasting legacy for Pennsylvania.”

Entries were evaluated on their degree of environmental protection, innovation, partnership, economic impact, climate change consideration, sustainability and environmental justice, as well as the results achieved.

Collectively, the winning projects engaged hundreds of partners and resulted in:

  • 2,470,000 gallons of stormwater treated
  • 118 trees planted
  • 32,552 shrubs planted
  • 2,000 trail feet created
  • 200,000 treated acid mine drainage books
  • 8 kilometers of watercourses treated
  • 242 hectares of green spaces created
  • 15 electric vehicles purchased
  • 2,400 metric tons of CO2 reduced
  • 1,700,000 kilowatt hours saved
  • 500 tons of recycled materials

The 2022 Governor’s Awards for Environmental Excellence were awarded to the following organizations in North Central Pennsylvania or statewide:

Northcentral Pennsylvania Conservancy and Pennsylvania Game Commission (PGC) for Plunketts Creek berm removal at Proctor

In the 1940s, a 10-12 foot earth berm was constructed along 2,200 feet of the creek to protect the former North Central Propagation Farm (now State Game Lands #134) operated by PGC des Hautes waters. The berm cut off Plunketts Creek from its floodplain.

The works also improved Huckle Run, a high quality stream with naturally spawning trout. Plunketts Creek has experienced several 500-year floods in the past decade, but after restoration, Plunketts Creek drained into its natural floodplain in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida, protecting surrounding land and properties.

Nurture Nature Center for Watershed-Friendly Properties

Nurture Nature Center and the Penn State Extension Master Watershed Steward Program have developed a Watershed Friendly Properties Education and Certification Program to increase the number of watershed-friendly properties throughout PA, with the goal of educating residents, communities, educational institutions and businesses on the value of a healthy watershed and best practices for improving water quality.

More than 600 Pennsylvania residents have been impacted by project outreach activities and presentations. To date, there have been a total of 300 applications with 270 successes (a 90% success rate) and 250 “Watershed Friendly Property” signs have been posted statewide, representing 49 total counties (near three quarters of the state represented).

These are properties that contribute to the health of PA watersheds through practices such as rain gardens and other stormwater management strategies, cultivation of native vegetation, removal of pollution sources , water conservation (rain barrels), etc.

Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) for Activities and Education Portal

Originally developed in response to the challenges that COVID guidance has presented to teachers, parents, and the Pennsylvania angling and boating community in 2020, PFBC Education staff have spent the past year evolving the activity and education portal into a one-stop-shop for environmental education that brings “fishing, boating and aquatic resource experience” to participants at home.

The CBFP Activities and Education Portal is an extensive resource for anyone interested in aquatic resources and fishing and boating opportunities throughout the Commonwealth, which includes videos, activities, printable materials, newsletters and more. Pennsylvania League of Angling Youth (PLAY) information, crafts, coloring pages, backgrounds. information, and more.

Topics include: habitat, watersheds and pollution; native fish species; amphibians and reptiles; aquatic macroinvertebrates; sin; fly fishing; kayak fishing; boating and water safety; and an overview of the CBFP.

In order to make educational material more accessible to people with visual impairments, PFBC now publishes audio versions of its most popular newsletters. As additional resources to the Read Along with PFBC video project, this project has also created a downloadable coloring page and a variety of themed activities and educational kits, all of which can be found on the Activities and Education portal.

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