Volunteers Donate $1 Million Worth Of Labor To State Parks, Forests

The PA Parks and Forests Foundation Monday announced the results of their annual survey of 38 affiliated Chapter friends groups.

Each year, each Chapter prepares a report of the money raised and hours of volunteer labor donated to their respective state parks and forests. For the second year in a row, these dedicated volunteers donated hours valued in excess of $1 million to these crucial public lands.

"Not only did our Chapter volunteers raise more than $390,000 in real money through donations, hosting special events, and sales of merchandise and camp goods but they also gave over 44,000 hours of their time throughout the year. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, every one of those hours is valued at $23.07 making their contribution worth $1,015,495.26," said Marci Mowery, President of the Foundation. "We are so proud of the work these volunteers do. In every kind of weather, you'll find them working on their parks' and forests' trails and picnic areas, building playgrounds and park benches, and sharing their individual expertise and passion with Pennsylvania families."

Other data collected show that these volunteers hosted 133 special events (everything from music, food, and history festivals; to Easter egg hunts and other holiday celebrations; to wildflower hikes and birdwatching outings; a barn dance and a square dance; marathons, half marathons and 5k run/walks; educational programs and seasonal fun).

The events brought nearly 82,000 people into the parks and forests, sometimes in "shoulder" seasons like early spring and late fall when visitation numbers have traditionally decreased.

"All our volunteers helping in state parks and state forestlands are marked by a passion to protect, improve and enhance the natural world around them," said DCNR Acting Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn. "So many contribute so much. Whether it's introducing newcomers to the joys of birding, helping others relive the pioneer life on parklands, or tackling state forest trail improvements in drenching rain, the volunteer is invaluable to DCNR."

PA Parks & Forests Foundation chapters represent 37 of Pennsylvania's 120 state parks and four of the 20 state forest districts. They operate as nonprofit affiliates of the Foundation which offers these volunteer groups training opportunities, accounting and audit services, and publicity and promotion support.

New affiliate chapters are always welcome; simply contact Marci Mowery by sending email to: mmowery-ppff@pa.net for information on how to form a friends group for your favorite park or forest.

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


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