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Connecting Young People to Conservation

May 01, 2018 04:00 PM
By: DCNR Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn

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​Today I got to spend an afternoon at Pine Grove Furnace State Park with high school students participating in the Cumberland County Envirothon.

Pennsylvania Envirothon is a fun, academic event that challenges high school students to think critically about the natural world and their roles in it.

It’s so exciting to see young people exploring the things that we can learn and do to protect and conserve our natural resources and environment, especially as we face the challenge of how to help Pennsylvania become resilient and adapt to a changing climate.

I encouraged the students to continue their interest in forestry, wildlife, ecology, and science as they consider their options for jobs and further schooling.


DCNR’s Bureau of Forestry supports Envirothon across the commonwealth by providing resources and expertise for forestry topics. Today’s competition was hosted by the Cumberland County Conservation District, and Michaux State Forest Service Forester John Schwartzer assisted with testing.

With the guidance of professional foresters, students learn basic forestry principles and practices -- from tree identification to forest structure and dynamics. Other topics include invasive species, wildfire and the benefits of trees in urban communities.

County Envirothon winners will compete at the state level in Mifflinburg at the end of May. 

Opportunities for Young Adults to Learn about Conservation, Careers

Governor Tom Wolf has made a commitment to STEM education, including his PAsmart proposal intended to meet demand for skilled and science-related workers.

DCNR’s strategic efforts to connect young people to conservation include: 

  • The Pennsylvania Outdoor Corps that offers work experience to young people age 18-25. Watch a video (below) about the impacts the corps has on young people and be inspired!
  • Think Outside which is intended to encourage young people to make state parks and forests outdoor classrooms.
  • ECO Camp a week-long summer camp that introduces high school students to environmental careers.
Getting young people outdoors for their health and on the path to being future stewards of our natural resources is among our priorities at DCNR, and we’ll be sharing information about our efforts in May.

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