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Ensure the Future of Conservation

The major DCNR accomplishments of 2018 to ensure the future of conservation are listed below.

Attract Youth

PA Outdoor Corps

Created in 2016 with cooperation of the Department of Labor and Industry, the Pennsylvania Outdoor Corps addresses a backlog of state park and forest improvement projects while instilling a sense of conservation and outdoors-oriented career options within young people.

Entering its fourth year under leadership of newly named Manager Michael D. Piaskowski, the program in 2018 saw
227 young people either graduate or leave in good standing.

A total of 15 crews worked last year from host locations in:

  • Erie
  • Meadville
  • Pittsburgh
  • Greensburg
  • Uniontown
  • Altoona
  • St. Marys
  • Renovo
  • McConnellsburg
  • Williamsport
  • Harrisburg
  • York
  • Reading
  • Wilkes-Barre
  • Philadelphia

This year the program is being expanded to Include a “roving” crew that can be dispatched throughout the state.

In 2018, crews:

  • Performed 2,595 structure and amenity improvement projects in Pennsylvania’s state parks and state forests
  • Collected 3,895 data points, primarily while conducting urban tree inventories in 12 state municipalities
  • Improved 143 acres of wildlife habitat
  • Improved 170 miles of trail
  • Planted 1,952 trees

Exploring Careers Outdoors Camp (ECO) Camp

DCNR’s Exploring Careers Outdoors Camp (ECO Camp) again introduced Pennsylvania high school students to careers in the natural resource and conservation fields. This week-long residential camp immersed participates in the real-world, hands-on work of DCNR professionals. Students interacted with professionals in the field, experienced some of their job duties, and were assigned a DCNR staff mentor to guide them as they hopefully pursued a career in the natural resource or conservation field.

Every year, DCNR accepted 20 highly talented and motivated young people for ECO Camp. To date, approximately 1,240 youth have experienced a DCNR youth education camp. 2018 was the final year for this program.

Outdoor Programming Services/Youth Engagement

More than 415,000 people participated in state park educational programs, including more than 56,000 who learned outdoor recreational skills such as archery, kayaking, snowshoeing, and geocaching.

State parks offered 89 teacher workshops on songbirds, watersheds, hiking, connecting preschoolers to nature, Project Learning Tree, Project Wild, Project WET, stand-up paddle-boarding, and climate change; and provided 4,047 programs for 138,000 school students.

Climate Adaptation and Mitigation

Charting Strategy Based on Science

The past year brought historic flooding and rainfall to the Pennsylvania, a trend that’s predicted to continue as our climate warms. As part of DCNR’s continuing efforts to address this and other impacts of climate change, the department published a Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation Plan (PDF) in June 2018. Written by a team of more than 70 DCNR staff members, the plan identifies the department’s most significant climate change vulnerabilities and more than 120 actions to address them.

Among the biggest impacts:

  • Flooding
  • Increasing lake temperatures
  • Longer recreation seasons
  • Decreased opportunities for winter recreation
  • Declining forest health due to pests, invasive species, and warming temperatures

DCNR now is beginning to address these impacts in state parks, state forests, and through our education programs.

Additionally, we are conducting a landscape-scale pilot project on South Mountain in Franklin, Adams, and Cumberland counties that includes Michaux State Forest and Pine Grove, Caledonia, and Kings Gap state parks.