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Ensure the Future of Conservation

The major DCNR accomplishments of 2017 to ensure the future of conservation are listed below.

Expand Diversity

Diversity Statement, Training, and Goals

During 2017, DCNR adopted a statement related to diversity:

“To conserve and maintain Pennsylvania’s public natural resources for the benefit of all people, including generations yet to come, we will take intentional action to ensure DCNR lands are accessible to all, provide inclusive and equitable programs and services, and recruit and retain a diverse workforce.”

The department created a committee of staff from across the agency to focus on diversity and inclusion. Training for some staff on diversity issues and language began during December 2017.

Attract Youth

Pennsylvania Outdoor Corps

PA Outdoor Corps Build a Shelter at Laurel Hill State Park
Created during 2016 in cooperation with the Department of Labor and Industry, the 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.

2017 accomplishments include:

  • The program employed 195 in 15 host locations (Erie, Meadville, Pittsburgh, Greensburg, Uniontown, Altoona, St. Marys, Renovo, McConnellsburg, Williamsport, Harrisburg, York, Reading, Wilkes-Barre, and Philadelphia)
  • Crews completed 84,150 program hours -- 67,320 on projects, and 16,830 on training and education, team building, and career exploration
  • Projects were completed in 40 state parks and 16 state forests
  • Projects resulted in the improvement to 68 acres of green spaces, 13,000 feet of shoreline, 142 miles of nature trails, 1,251 park and forest structures, and planting of 567 trees

Exploring Careers Outdoors Camp

ECO Camp introduces Pennsylvania high school students to careers in the natural resource and conservation fields. During 2017, students again:

  • Interacted with professionals in the field
  • Experienced some of the professionals’ job duties
  • Were assigned a DCNR staff mentor to guide them as they hopefully pursue careers in the natural resource or conservation field

Every year DCNR accepts 20 highly talented and motivated young people for ECO Camp. To date, approximately 1,220 youth have experienced a DCNR youth education camp.

Outdoor Programming Services and Youth Engagement

Secretary Dunn educates a young student about plants and animals at Nolde Forest Environmental Education Center
More than 455,000 people participated in state park educational programs, including more than 66,500 who learned:

  • Archery
  • Geocaching
  • Kayaking
  • Snowshoeing
  • Other outdoor recreational skills

The Bureau of State Parks provided 3,669 programs for 130,524 school students. It offered 101 teacher workshops on:

  • Archaeology
  • Climate change
  • Connecting preschoolers to nature
  • GPS
  • Hiking
  • Project Learning Tree
  • Project WET
  • Project Wild
  • Songbirds

Strengthen and Expand Collaboration

Communications and Outreach

To inform and engage with citizens, DCNR uses Facebook, Twitter, and other social media accounts to interact with more than 500,000 followers and friends. During 2017, the department more than doubled its Facebook and Instagram followers to more than 20,000 followers combined.

Those who want the most recent news follow @DCNRnews Twitter account for daily updates on agency happenings. The account increased its reach by 33 percent during 2016, and now has more than 9,000 followers.

Both Pa. State Parks and Pa. State Forests saw increases in Facebook followers with state parks now having more than 85,000 followers and state forests with more than 12,000 followers.

In an effort to make information more easily accessible to the public, DCNR’s website was redesigned to:

  • Get visitors to information they are searching for quickly
  • Provide information and resources in “one-stop” areas
  • Make the information mobile-friendly

Within the first four months of the new website, visits to the website increased 34 percent over the previous period in 2016 -- to more than 3 million visits.

Included as part of the new website, the agency launched its “Good Natured” blog, providing the public with information about the good things taking place in Pennsylvania’s natural places.

The public can subscribe to DCNR’s email newsletter, resource, to get the most recent blog posting delivered to their inbox.

DCNR will launch an e-library during 2018 to make its publications easier to access.

In addition, DCNR redesigned its large event exhibit to highlight the diversity of visitors, recreation opportunities, and conservation work of the agency.

Climate Adaptation and Mitigation

Charting Strategy Based on Science

DCNR adopted a climate change strategy that ensures it will use the best available science to develop and implement climate change adaptation and mitigation actions within each of its bureaus to minimize these impacts and serve as a role model for the citizens of Pennsylvania.

The department also continued to work with the Northern Institute of Applied Climate Science to develop strategies for designing climate resilient riparian buffers and modeling which trees species will do well and not do well as the climate continues to change.