The Pennsylvania Environmental Council has awarded seventeen grants totaling $100,000 to communities and organizations that are working to protect and promote the cultural and natural assets in the six counties that make up the Pocono Forests and Waters Conservation Landscape in Northeast Pennsylvania. The landscape, which includes Carbon, Lackawanna, Luzerne, Monroe, Pike and Wayne Counties is noted for a rich and diverse past that includes early Colonial settlements along its rivers and valleys; industrial development and extractive uses that fueled the industrial revolution; and outdoor leisure and vacation activities and is the watershed for both the Delaware and Susquehanna Rivers.
The funded projects work to connect the region’s public lands; parks, forests, waterways, game lands and conserved properties, to their local communities through: partnerships that promote sound land use planning; natural resource conservation; and heritage, cultural and nature based recreation.
“These small grants help communities enhance their sense of place and expand their regional economies by capitalizing on their close-to-home natural resources,” according to Carol Hussa, PFW CLI Coordinator. “Mini-grant funds encourage local economic development by funding projects that promote trail usage, outdoor recreation and heritage tourism; to support educational and conservation efforts; hold outdoor festivals; develop promotional guides for sportsmen and green lodging; and much more.”
The Pocono Forests and Waters initiative is among seven statewide conservation landscape programs overseen by the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources to engage communities and local partners with state agencies and funding partners with the shared goal to conserve and protect regional natural resources.
Grant awards ranged from $1,500 to $16,800 with each awardee providing a dollar-for-dollar local match. Funds are provided by DCNR’s Bureau of Recreation and Conservation Community Conservation Partnerships Program administered through the Pennsylvania Environmental Council’s Conservation Assistance Program. The program was launched at The Ledges Hotel in Hawley; one of the establishments participating in the Delaware Highlands Conservancy’s Green Lodging initiative being funded through this grant program.
The following are the mini grant award recipients and projects:
- Center for Landscape Design and Stewardship, Inc. – Green Roof Project
- Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor, Inc. – Connecting Nature to Commerce Guide
- Delaware Highlands Conservancy – Green Lodging Partnership Project
- Friends of Cherry Valley – Cherry Valley Festival
- Friends of Stroud Region Open Space and Recreation Commission – Stroud Region Bike Ped Network
- Greater Hazleton Area Civic Partnership – Heath Barren Signage
- Grey Towers Heritage Association – Tree Trail Signage
- Lackawanna Heritage Valley Authority – Companion Guidebooks Project: Lackawanna River Heritage Trail Guidebook and Pennsylvania’s Northeast Treasures
- Natural Lands Trust, Inc. – PFW CL Mapping Project
- Pike Co. Office of Community Planning – Good to Great
- Pike Co. Office of Community Planning – Pike Outdoors
- Rail Trail Council of NEPA, Inc. – D & H Trailhead Enhancement
- Wayne County Historical Society – Towpath to Trail Phase 4
- Western Wayne School District – Middle School Environmental Education Camp at Varden
- Wildlands Conservancy, Inc. – Maple Tract Forest Conservation and Trail Plan
- Wilkes-Barre Family YMCA – 2012 Downtown WB Bicycle & Pedestrian Count
- Wilkes-Barre Family YMCA – 2013 Keystone Active Zone Passport Program for Luzerne County
For more information about the Pocono Forests and Waters Conservation Landscape or the Pennsylvania Environmental Council contact Carol Hussa, 570-718-6507 or visit the website; pecpa.org/PoconoCLI.
In the photo:
Back L-R: Dan Perry, Lackawanna Heritage Valley Authority; Debra Schuler, Friends of Cherry Valley; Megan Boatright, Natural Lands Trust; Dale Freudenburger, Delaware and Lehigh National Heritage Corridor; Bob Skulsky, Greater Hazleton Rails Trails; Clayton LaCoe, Western Wayne School District; Kent Baird, Wildlands Conservancy; Nick Dickerson, Pike County Office of Community Planning; Lorne Possinger, DCNR.
Front L-R: Mike Eschenmann, DCNR; Sally Talaga, Wayne County Historical Society; Brad Elison, DCNR; Deb McNamara, Rail Trail Council of NEPA; Carol Hussa, Pennsylvania Environmental Council; Sally Currier, Delaware Highlands Conservancy; Molly Breithback, Grey Towers Heritage Association; Michele Schasberger, Wilkes-Barre Family YMCA; and Tim Herd, Friends of Stroud Region Open Space and Recreation Commission.