2014 Pennsylvania Parks & Forests Foundation Award Winners Announced

The PA Parks and Forests Foundation Monday recognized the outstanding service, programs and exemplary work being done in state parks and forests with the announcement of its 2014 award winners.

The winners will be recognized at a special awards banquet on May 6 at the West Shore Country Club in Harrisburg.  Call 717-236-7644 or send email to: mmowery-ppf@pa.net for more information and sponsorship opportunities.

“The Pennsylvania Parks and Forests Foundation enacted the awards program to celebrate the accomplishments of volunteers and staff in making the visitor experience to state parks and forests memorable,” says Marci Mowery, President of the Pennsylvania Parks and Forests Foundation. “These dedicated staff and volunteers are the lifeblood of our award-winning park and forest system and we please to recognize and celebrate their accomplishments.”

This year’s winners will be honored at the 8th annual banquet on May 6 at the West Shore Country Club in Camp Hill. Sponsorships for awards are still available.

This year’s award winners include--

— Cliff Jones Keystone Legacy Award: Caren Glotfelty: This top honor recognizes an outstanding contribution to the protection and/or enhancement to the park and forest system in Pennsylvania. Glotfelty has been an active and vibrant player in the conservation movement throughout her long career. Her distinguished career in environmental stewardship has included promoting smart growth, clean air and water, green building initiatives, and sustainable development in Pennsylvania in a variety of roles. She was a major strategist in the production of the Brookings Institution study, Back to Prosperity. Caren spent the early years of her career working in Pennsylvania and Maryland state government on land use and water quality policy and planning issues, becoming the first Deputy Secretary for Water Management in Pennsylvania.

-- President’s Award: Ralph Harrison: This award recognizes outstanding citizens or businesses that have made an impact in protecting open space, conservation, outdoor recreation, or volunteerism. Harrison is a retired state forester and still going strong as a volunteer, and recently wrote Quehanna: The Blemished Jewel Restored, a book about the Pennsylvania Wilds.

— Joe Ibberson Government Award: Bushkill Township, Northampton County: This award is given to a person or department at any level of government to recognize their work in the stewardship of Pennsylvania’s state park and forest system. Bushkill Township is being honored for its work with the Jacobsburg Environmental Education Center to protect important natural areas and water resources in the area, benefitting the ecological resources in the park and the education center.

— Park of the Year: Prince Gallitzin State Park: This award recognizes a park for exemplary or innovative work in any or all of the following:  customer service; education; programming or recreation; stewardship of the natural, cultural, or historic assets; and/or accommodation of special needs of visitors. The park produces generous environmental education programming for the public and local schools and publishes an e-newsletter three times a year. Its annual Apple Cider Festival draws up to 17,000 people each year.

— Forest of the Year: Gallitzin State Forest: This award recognizes a forest district for innovative and exemplary work in both forest management and recreation for a wide range of activities. In recent years, the staff of the Gallitzin has created new healthful, low-density recreation, while maintaining forest ecosystem integrity.  In addition to improving habitat and forest conditions, staff have focused on improving public access, assistance, and safety, while effectively using volunteers to enhance recreational programming, planning and development activities.

Three awards given for recognition of achievements made by friends groups.

— Improvements Award: Kathy and Gary Diegan: The Diegans worked to improve the landscape at the spillway of Pymatuning State Park, contributing a combined average of 20 hours a week April – October during the past four years.  A botanist and multiple-handicap classroom teacher, Kathy also assists visitors with special needs who frequent the Spillway.

— Volunteerism Award: Friends of Gifford Pinchot State Park: This group raised funds and worked on a number of improvements throughout the park in 2013, including benches and picnic table replacements, turtle basking platforms and “porcupine crib” fish habitat structures, trail maintenance and installing two playgrounds toward a three-phase playground replacement goal.

— Education Award: Promised Land Nature Center Volunteers: Started 30 years ago, Promised Land’s Nature Arts & Crafts program is one of the Park’s most popular programs. Last year program volunteers donated over 3,100 hours of volunteer time presenting 5 – 7 themed crafts for an average of 135 participants per week.

— Young Volunteer Award: Eleanor Davis: This award is designed to show appreciation of a significant contribution to a park or forest by a person under the age of 25. As a PPFF intern, Davis spearheaded a video development project, wrote grants for state park projects, and helped organize an adaptive recreation day for wounded service members. She has also interned with the National Parks Conservation Association and the George Washington University Office of Sustainability.

For more information, visit the PA Parks and Forests Foundation website.


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