On January 31, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn celebrated the success of Pennsylvania’s Conservation Landscapes Program by releasing a new report on how this partnership-building approach is critical for meeting regional environmental challenges and economic challenges
The report– 2019 Pennsylvania Conservation Landscapes – Models for Successful Collaboration— shares the results of a recent evaluation and highlights individual landscape efforts and the best practices they are using to achieve conservation and revitalization goals. “We believe that the landscape-scale approach, now more than 15 years in practice, is well positioned to help Pennsylvania tackle the most challenging problems such as watershed protection, and our changing climate and its impacts on infrastructure, wildlife, and health,” Dunn said at the annual meeting of the South Mountain Partnership at Liberty Mountain, Fairfield. “As we strive to accelerate the pace and scale of conservation efforts, a good understanding of what makes landscape efforts successful is critical,” added Dunn.
“The South Mountain Partnership invests in building the capacity of its partners, and uses a collaborative approach to tackle large projects,” said external lead Katie Hess of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy. “That’s led to significant wins for the landscape including the conservation of 850-acres of valuable forested land on South Mountain, the rebirth of the Craighead House as a cultural and educational asset, and a current focus on clean water efforts for local communities and the Chesapeake Bay.”
The report provides an overview of key best practices in the Conservation Landscapes include: using partnerships to make large, complex projects a reality; investing in public lands and facilities to drive economic development in communities; cross-promotion of regional tourism assets; strategic land conservation to address water quality and climate change; and offering mini-grant programs to support small projects.
It also makes some recommendations to strengthen the program and position it to tackle landscape-scale conservation challenges.
Pennsylvania’s Conservation Landscapes include: Laurel Highlands; Lehigh Valley Greenways; Pennsylvania Wilds; Pocono Forest and Waters; Schuylkill Highlands; South Mountain; Susquehanna Riverlands, and Kittatinny Ridge.
NATURE NUGGET: Pennsylvania has 6 major watersheds: the Ohio, the Genesee, the Susquehanna, the Delaware, the Erie, and the Potomac. Click on this fun link that features a map where you can learn more about your local landscape especially waterways and such! https://mapmaker2.millersville.edu/pamaps/Watersheds/ PS BTW, be sure to click on the gray shaded links peppering this posting. Fun!
“Porcupine Pat” McKinney is environmental education coordinator for the Schuylkill Conservation District and provides programming for people of all ages with an emphasis on schools, public programming and nature center development. “Porcupine Pat” hails from Marion, Ohio and has a BS with Distinction in Natural Resources – Environmental Interpretation from Ohio State. He is a recipient of the prestigious Sandy Cochran Award for Excellence in Natural Resources Education from the PA Forestry Association, the Schuylkill Pride Award, and the PAEE “Outstanding Environmental Educator Award.”