New Environmental Education Resources

Screenshot from HCCD’s video of Watershed Specialist Logan Stenger demonstrating a stream study.

More resources for teaching environmental education from home are now available. Huntingdon County Conservation District (HCCD) and the PA Envirothon have new things to share.

HCCD is creating some virtual field trips in the form of short videos and photo albums, including:

  • Learn how we monitor water quality and about what lives in the stream
  • Look at invasive species
  • Tour a vernal pool
  • Sample macroinvertebrates

Click here to view the videos and consider sharing them on your social media! (You must be logged in to Facebook to view.)

Pennsylvania Envirothon is hosting an online challenge week (“Pennsylvania Envirothon Week”) from May 18-22, 2020, to give this year’s students a chance to test their knowledge and stay engaged in the program. This challenge will only be available for high school students who were already participating in this year’s Envirothon. Click here to learn more. 

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Columbia County Conservation District Holds Rain Barrel Workshop via Webinar

On April 18, 2020, the Columbia County Conservation District converted their DIY Rain Barrel Workshop to a webinar! The webinar ran 1.25 hours on the Zoom platform. The district had 49 people attend the webinar and have all 50 rain barrels reserved for pick up at a later date.

Watershed Specialist Brittney Hartzell said, “I was pleasantly surprised to see the enthusiasm for the webinar and that almost everyone attended. Offering it via webinar allowed for more participants because it could be open to the public. We were not limited on space like we would have been in the original plan for an in-person workshop.”

Click here to view the PowerPoint and here for the recorded webinar.

This project was funded through a 2019-2020 PA Department of Environmental Protection Environmental Education grant.

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$2.2 Million Awarded to Berks County Farms

Photo provided by Berks County Conservation District.

Agricultural Best Management Practice (BMP) Implementation in the Chesapeake Bay

The Berks County Conservation District (BCCD) is excited to announce good news is on the way for Berks County farmers in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Last week, the Natural Resource Conservation Service (USDA-NRCS) awarded more than $200 million for the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP), including $2,232,143.00 toward Berks County agricultural operations within the Chesapeake Bay to implement agricultural best management practices (BMP’s.) RCPP is a partner-driven approach to conservation that funds solutions to natural resource challenges on agricultural land. By leveraging collective resources and collaborating on common goals, RCPP demonstrates the power of public-private partnerships in delivering results for agriculture and conservation.

BCCD will be the lead partner for the Chesapeake Bay RCPP project. Collectively, RCPP partners have also committed an additional $2,294,875.00 in contributions, totaling over $4.5 million toward the implementation of agricultural BMP’s to improve and protect local water quality. In collaboration with the USDA-NRCS, BCCD and project partners will implement Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plans (CNMPs) or a “Whole Farm Approach.” This includes implementing manure handling systems, animal heavy use area protection, and near-stream conservation practices such as riparian buffers, filter strips, and animal exclusion fencing, all while providing much needed technical assistance and conservation planning.

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Monroe County Engages Community with Backyard Nature Videos

The Monroe County Conservation District’s Kettle Creek Environmental Education Center is engaging the community using short videos on their Facebook page (@KettleCreekEnvironmentalEducationCenter). The Center’s videos have included backyard birding, salamanders, and what is blooming in your backyard. Share the Center’s posts on your Facebook page or create your own! Monroe County’s posts are informative and encourage engagement, such as posting photos from the reader’s backyards.

Click here to view the page.

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Potter County Conservation District Holds Online Scavenger Hunt

The Potter County Conservation District (@pottercounservationdistrict) is holding an online scavenger hunt for their Facebook followers. Their virtual nature scavenger hunt challenge even includes prizes including gift cards, outdoor and gardening supplies, and more!

The district encourages its followers to enjoy the little things. Participants take photos of as many of the items as they can and share them with the district. For example, the first week’s scavenger hunt items included vernal pools, snowdrops, and signs of beaver activity.

Click here to view the page.

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Snyder County Conservation District Holds Farmer Meeting

Snyder County’s annual Farmers Meeting was held on February 14, 2020. Photo provided by Snyder County Conservation District.

The Snyder County Conservation District (SCCD) held its annual Farmers Winter Meeting on Friday, February 14, 2020, near Selinsgrove.

Ninety-six people attended the meeting. Topics presented during the meeting included understanding the science and the practical application of soil health on your farms, U.S. Department of Agriculture updates, the PA Resource Enhancement and Protection (REAP) tax credit program, repairing and maintaining farm lanes, and the SCCD’s stream buffer program.

Guest speakers came from the farming community, PA No-Till Alliance, Stroud Water Resource Center, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, USDA Farm Service Agency, PA State Conservation Commission, Penn State Center for Dirt & Gravel Roads Studies, SCCD, and Penn State Extension.

Financial and other support for this project is provided by the Pennsylvania Association of Conservation Districts, Inc. through a grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection under Section 319 of the Clean Water Act, administered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

 

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Potter County Conservation District Holds Legislative Luncheon

Potter County Conservation District Manager Jason Childs presents during the legislative luncheon.

PACD Executive Director Brenda Shambaugh traveled to Potter County on March 6, 2020, for the district’s legislative luncheon.

The luncheon was held at the beautiful Susquehannock Lodge and Trail Center. It was a productive afternoon with district and legislative updates and a question and answer session. The event is a way to showcase efforts and discuss conservation issues and policies throughout the Commonwealth. The district staff and board have been busy planning and constructing numerous projects to conserve our natural resources in Potter County. Also, the district has been actively assisting and educating farmers and the general public on local resource concerns.

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Jefferson, Clarion and Armstrong Conservation Districts Hold Workshop for Foresters

Alicia Ramsey, E&S/DGLVR Technician for the Clarion Conservation District presents during the workshop.

On January 9, 2020, Jefferson Conservation District hosted an “Erosion and Sedimentation Control in our Forests” Workshop for foresters, loggers and contractors at the Cobblestone Inn in Punxsutawney.

Presenters from Bureau of Forestry, PA Fish and Boat Commission, Armstrong Conservation District, Clarion Conservation District and Jefferson Conservation District provided attendees with a wide variety of information about topics including erosion and sedimentation control, Chapter 105 regulations, invasive plant species and ticks, fish and boat regulations, and insects and forest health.

Financial and other support for this project is provided by the Pennsylvania Association of Conservation Districts, Inc. through a grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection under Section 319 of the Clean Water Act, administered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

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Chester County Conservation District Holds NPDES Workshop

Photo provided by CCCD.

On Thursday, February 20, 2020, Chester County Conservation District (CCCD) Urban Team Leader Gordon Roscovich and District Engineer Molly Deger gave a presentation about the December 2019 National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit updates to a full room of 180 design professionals at a facility outside of Coatesville, PA.

The venue and presentation logistics were coordinated by Chester County Engineers, a local membership-based organization, which agreed to host an open forum for CCCD to give a 2.5-hour presentation on the updates. Initial survey responses have been positive, and recommendations for things to change next time are to make it longer and to do a follow-up in six months or more with lessons learned at that point.

A PDF of the PowerPoint slides is available here or if you would like the PowerPoint file for any use please reach out to Gordon at groscovich@chesco.org or Molly at mdeger@chesco.org at CCCD.

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Lehigh and Northampton County Conservation Districts Hosting 102 Workshop

The Lehigh and Northampton County Conservation Districts are hosting a Chapter 102 Workshop on March 24, 2020, at the Lehigh Valley Hotel and Conference Center. The event will include National Pollution Discharge Elimination System updates from the PA Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and conservation districts, as well as separate breakout tracks for engineers/developers, contractors, and municipal representatives. Please click here for registration information.  A detailed agenda will be published shortly.

Discounted tickets are available for conservation district employees/board members and DEP staff interested in attending. Please contact Holly Kaplan for more information. 

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