Pennsylvania Legacies #204: Currently Streaming

Protecting Pennsylvania’s watersheds is a collective effort, carried out by everyone from agency experts to community volunteers. At the PA Statewide Watershed Conference, they all come together to share strategies, build on successes, and make lasting connections.

 The 2023 PA Statewide Watershed Conference, Oct. 29-30, convened agency leaders, environmental organizations and community volunteers from across Pennsylvania at the Grand Hotel in Altoona. The biennial event, organized by the Pennsylvania Organization for Watersheds and Rivers (POWR), is an opportunity to exchange ideas and forge partnerships.

Just in time for the conference, POWR released the “Community Watershed Organization Cumulative Impacts & Successes Report,” based on the collective work of 47 CWOs in 2022. The report illustrates the key role that these often small, volunteer-led groups play as part of the broader work to restore and protect the Commonwealth’s waterways.

“They serve as really critical partners to a lot of the other government and non-government agencies that are doing projects on the ground to improve water quality and to improve recreational opportunities for all Pennsylvanians,” said Tali MacArthur, PEC’s program manager for watershed outreach.

According to the report, the 47 CWOs planted more than 30,000 trees in 2022, removed nearly 210,000 pounds of litter, and engaged 66,600 people through education, outreach, and recreation events. View the full report here.

New this year, artists joined the conference, giving speeches and presenting work that relays water-related issues and solutions in creative ways. Victoria Prizzia, founder of Habithèque and the artist behind the River Alive! Learning Trail in Philadelphia, gave the keynote address, in which she described art as a gateway to inspiring a broader range of people to engage in environmental work.

“It’s really I think through creativity that we are going to come up with solutions that are good for all living things,” Prizzia said.

She saw the conference as a way to expand her network and collaborate with people she might not otherwise have worked with.

Other artists at the conference shared a similar vision and said they have seen how their art effects tangible changes in people’s opinions and behavior. Nancy Agati, another Philadelphia-based artist, designed an installation, titled “Water Table,” in Atlantic City that demonstrates benefits of permeable ground surfaces.

“The idea was [that] we were trying to show the susceptible area of flooding,” Agati said. “Atlantic City floods all the time, and there is a lot of paving.”

One observer, who had scheduled a contractor to pave her driveway, told Agati that the artwork inspired her to cancel the appointment and look instead into permeable pavers.

“I think that a lot of people cringe when they look at statistics and numbers and lots of words,” Agati said. “If you have images, if you have hands-on projects that people can actually engage with the materials and understand, it’s just a barrier breakdown.”

In this episode, we talk with Tali MacArthur about this year’s conference and hear from attendees and speakers about what they are doing for Pennsylvania’s watersheds.

*POWR is a 509(a) supporting organization of the Pennsylvania Environmental Council, and is staffed by PEC employees. For more on the relationship, click here.*

Episode Links:

Josh Raulerson: (00:01)
It is Friday, November 10th, 2023. I’m Josh Raulerson, and this is Pennsylvania Legacies, the podcast from the Pennsylvania Environmental Council. Every two years, environmental professionals and highly engaged volunteers from all over the Commonwealth gather for watershed connections. The Biennial Statewide Watersheds Conference, hosted by PEC’s affiliate group, the Pennsylvania Organization for Watersheds and Rivers, or POWR. It’s a chance to connect with colleagues, catch up on current research and best practices, and get inspired. The latest gathering held last month in Altoona may have been a little heavier than usual on the inspiration piece. That’s because this year’s conference emphasized the arts, including a private tour of a local art museum, sessions on using art to create awareness around watershed issues, and keynote remarks from artists Victoria Prizzia of Habithèque, Inc. Prizzia is known for exhibitions and installations that explore the relationship between people and water and the intimate connections between nature, human happiness, and social justice. One of her recent projects, “POOL: A Social History of Segregation,” was recognized at PEC’s Environmental Partnership Awards dinner last year at Philadelphia. And we’ll chat with Victoria Prizzia coming up in just a few minutes. But first, looking at the big headline from this year’s conference, the release of new research from POWR on the statewide impact of Pennsylvania’s community watershed organizations, or CWOs. The report is a snapshot of projects undertaken all over the state the last year by small, often volunteer-led groups, folks dedicated to protecting, restoring, and educating neighbors about their local rivers and streams. My colleague, Derek Maiolo, was at the 2023 Watersheds Conference with the microphone. And on this episode of the podcast, we’ll hear a few highlights from the program, conversations with presenters and attendees, and takeaways from POWR’s Report on CWO Impacts. To set it all up, Derek sat down with PEC’s Tali MacArthur, who organized the conference, for an introduction to community watershed organizations and the work they’re doing.

Derek Maiolo: (02:15)
Hi, Tali. Thank you so much for being on Pennsylvania Legacies.

Tali MacArthur: (02:17)
You’re welcome. It’s a pleasure to be here.

Derek Maiolo: (02:19)
So let’s start with the Statewide Watershed Conference, which took place the last weekend of October in Altoona. What were some of the highlights from the weekend’s events?

Tali MacArthur: (02:28)
Yeah, it was overall a very successful event. I would say some of the highlights were first of all the plenary session. So we invited Victoria Prizzia, she is a phenomenal artist and curator out of the Philadelphia area. And her keynote address on Monday morning by far stole the show. A couple of the other highlights, I would say, I was really excited to get some of our agency government agency representatives give opening remarks and welcoming remarks to our audience. So we had Andrew Dehoff, executive director of the Susquehanna River Basin Commission. We had Bevin Buchheister, who is the Deputy secretary for water at the DEP, the Pennsylvania DEP. She really connected with the audience. I was so pleased that she was able to be there. She’s relatively new at the DEP, so it was real honor for her to make time in her schedule to come to our event. We also had Tim Schaeffer with the Fish and Boat Commission, again, welcome everyone on Sunday. And we also invited the mayor of Altoona. It was especially fun to have him there because the conference planning committee made a special effort to support local businesses. So we served local wine and local beer and local coffee, and we had some raffle baskets that we had purchased some swag from local companies. And it was really important for us to show that we support the local community that, you know, where we were staying for those two days. And then finally, I was a little nervous if it was gonna work out, but we, for the first time we played Pennsylvania Jeopardy as part of our networking. I think people really enjoyed themselves. I think it was something different, and it was a nice way to connect people over a game and share some laughs prior to the reception on Sunday.

(Pennsylvania Jeopardy excerpt): (04:21)
This PA Stat Park’s name means “almost island” in French.

Audience member: (4:26)

What is Presque Isle?

Moderator: (4:29)

That is correct.

Derek Maiolo (04:30)
During the conference, POWR released a report about the collective impact of community watershed organizations. First, can you just describe to me what is a community watershed organization like? How, how are they different from an agency like the PA Fish and Boat Commission or a national organization like American Rivers?

Tali MacArthur (04:52)
Yeah, sure. So community watershed organization is basically just what it sounds like. It’s a very local effort, typically a small watershed area, and typically it’s also volunteer led, and like I said, very community based. So looking at local issues of concern, local challenges and local opportunities for education and restoration, recreation in and along the water bodies. The members of the organization, they’re typically very important partners on larger projects with some of the organizations that you mentioned. So they might partner with their local county conservation district on a project to plant trees or improve habitat. They might partner with American Rivers, which brings a lot of sort of manpower to the effort of removing dams, which can be something that is fairly significant effort that a small volunteer led watershed organizations might not be able to see a project like that all the way through.

But they’re really important on the ground for communicating with landowners and with the local community about the benefits of a project. So they serve as really critical partners to a lot of the other government and non-government agencies that are doing projects on the ground to improve water quality and to improve recreational opportunities for all Pennsylvanians. And yes, we did launch what we’re calling our Cumulative Impacts and Successes Report and effort. Basically, this is an opportunity each year for watershed organizations to respond to a survey where they tell us about all the important work that they accomplished or partnered to help accomplish in their watersheds, and POWR takes all that information and analyzes it and tabulates it, and creates sort of a snapshot of impacts that watershed organizations have had across the entire Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. So in 2022, we had about 47 organizations respond to our survey, and we were able to create sort of this poster that really celebrated those successes.

So these watershed organizations planted well over 30,000 trees. They are maintaining over 200 planting sites. So making sure that those trees survive and, and maintaining and replanting if any of the trees have died. In the interim, watershed organizations are really important partners in, in monitoring water quality. And according to our survey, they’re monitoring over 400 locations across the state. They are reconnecting habitat and streams. They are introducing people to recreational opportunities, so paddling and kayaking. And they really have a huge impact on educating and creating sort of outreach opportunities for their community members, whether it’s with school groups or scouts families. They’re going to festivals, they’re going to state fairs, and they’re really just providing important information about, you know, it seems so simple, but we have to continually drive home just how important clean water is to every single one of us to every single living thing in the world. And so, you know, that message is important and we have to continue to convey it. And it’s, it’s really these watershed organizations that are out there, you know, every day doing something on the ground to improve the quality of life. For the folks that live in Pennsylvania.

Derek Maiolo: (08:00)
Some of the impacts that are listed here, those numbers are from 47 community watershed organizations, but I’ve heard estimates that in Pennsylvania there are hundreds of CWO’s. Is that right?

Tali MacArthur: (08:16)
Yeah. So right now we are working a little bit to make sure that we have as accurate numbers as we can on that at the moment, yes, 47 responded to the survey. I’ve done some analysis of engagement with POWR through all of the past three or four years at our conferences, at our workshops, at our field visits, and through our webinars. And we’ve had, well, pretty close to about 80 watershed organizations engage with POWR and our activities. But we also know that there is probably another 50 organizations out there that are kind of quietly going about their work, and they might not necessarily interact with us. That’s okay. We know that they’re interacting locally either with a local watershed alliance or coalition, which is sort of like a, a mini version of POWR. For example, in some counties like Washington and York and also in the Lehigh Valley, there’s sort of these coalitions of five, six, seven, eight watershed organizations that sort of meet and work and collaborate together.

So yeah, you know, numbers vary on exactly how many watershed organizations are still active. There are certainly some challenges that they face in maintaining interest and volunteer engagement and leadership, but we’re hoping that through some of the capacity building training, partly some of the, what we did at the conference, so we had a whole track on organizational development where we talked about things like volunteer engagement, strategic planning, the legal requirements of maintaining a 501(c)3, and also partnerships, like how to really cultivate meaningful and, and helpful partnerships. So we’re hoping that through that capacity building and through things like this, this podcast that gets the word out about these watershed organizations and the important work that they’re doing, that people can recognize that there are opportunities to get involved locally to volunteer, you know, start by volunteering with one of these organizations. And the more you engage and the more you see the impact of your efforts on the ground, you know, that we’re hoping that people will step up into some leadership and management in these organizations because they are really doing important work. But as I said, most of them are volunteer led and volunteer driven, and we have some remarkable numbers in this report. I mean, over 8,000 volunteers close to 45,000 volunteer hours. So people are stepping up. But these organizations do need people to, to attend their events, to, you know, really help lead, lead them and keep them going.

Derek Maiolo (10:28)
What are some other major takeaways from this report or some of the messaging that you hope people get out of out of some of these numbers?

Tali MacArthur (10:36)
You know, I’ve heard it said over and over again that people want to be a part of something that’s having an impact, right? If you’re going to volunteer your time or contribute your hard-earned money to an organization, you know, it’s really important to be able to see the outcomes of, and the impact of that work. So that’s what I’m hoping people will see from that is that, you know, it’s not like this time or effort or money is gone to waste. It’s making real true impact on the ground. And I guess the other thing I want people to be able to see from this report, and it’ll be on our website soon, and that there’s a lot of different ways to get involved in these organizations, and they are looking for a whole variety of skill sets. So maybe you just love to be outside and get in your, maybe you’re a gardener or, or you just love to get your hands dirty.

I mean, tree planting is definitely a huge part of what a lot of these organizations are doing. They’re also doing, as I said, water quality monitoring, and they’re doing those in watersheds across Pennsylvania. So it could be watersheds that are impacted by ag. pollution, by urban runoff, but it’s also, you know, we’re still dealing with the legacy of our coal mining industry and our acid mine impacts, and, and they’re, they’re working on, on those projects as well. Those are kind of the gritty opportunities to engage with these groups. But maybe that’s not your thing, but maybe you really love talking to somebody and engaging and public speaking is one of the skills that you have. And so there’s an opportunity, again, to go to a tabling event and share with people the story of the watershed, share with people what you value in your community and how that’s related to recreation, to open space, to clean water.

And so that’s an opportunity to engage. You can attend and help lead a sojourn, a paddling excursion on a river. That’s such a fun way to sort of get introduced to these groups. So, you know, look for a trip that they might be, hosting and get out there on the water. It’s a completely different perspective when you’re in, you know, in a boat and you’re paddling it yourself and using your own strength  and fortitude to kind of get down the river. And you see your watershed from a completely different perspective, and you see where all that, you know, the water that falls on the land, you know where it goes and why it’s important to keep it clean. There’s a watershed organization probably in your vicinity that would love to have you assist them.

Derek Maiolo: (12:49)
How can people learn about their own local community watershed organization and get involved?

Tali MacArthur: (12:55)
Yeah, so I would say, the number one thing you can do is visit POWR’s website, which is There’s still information up there about the conference that there’s also a dropdown menu that’s all about watershed organizations and lets people know what they are. We have success stories on there, so you can read about some of the great work that they’re doing. But we also have a map that is pretty simple to use, an interactive map where you can click on your, the area where you live in Pennsylvania, and it will show you where there’s a watershed organization near you with contact information. So POWR’s website is definitely a great way to, a great place to start. Another place to start is what’s known as your county conservation district. Each county conservation district, there’s a watershed specialist or a watershed educator. They might have slightly different titles, but that’s really a great place to go because a lot of those conservation district staff work very closely with their watershed associations. And some of them may have websites or web pages that list the local watershed association. So that’s another great place to look for information. And yeah, my contact information is on the website, so if anybody has any questions, they can reach out to me. You know, attend your community events. If there’s a, an environmental festival or an arts festival or a state fair, you know, attend those and look for your watershed association table and learn more about the issues and the opportunities in your watershed and how you can get involved.

Derek Maiolo: (14:20)
You had mentioned Victoria Prizzia, the artist with Habithèque, and I know that art was one of the themes this year, and I was wondering how do you see art playing a role in the work around watersheds, whether that’s from POWR, PEC, or some of the other organizations that were represented? 

Tali MacArthur (14:37)
Yeah, this is something that we sort of dipped our toes in, I guess pun intended. In 2021, we invited somebody from the Master Watershed Steward program in York County who presented on some amazing artwork that had been done by artists to paint storm drains, to remind people that storm drains carry our water, you know, that water directly to our rivers. And we also had somebody who had done some music around the Susquehanna River as inspiring music. So the idea for this really kicked off in 2021, and I decided to make it, well, with the planning committee, we decided to make it more of a theme for this year’s conference, because I had just started attending other conferences where I saw people were inviting artists, everyone from painters who have painted like illustrated books on climate change. I also saw a conference where they actually had these incredible life-size puppets that depicted the water cycle in an entertaining way.

So it’s becoming really clear that, you know, topics like clean water equity, equitable access to water, climate change, these are really big topics, topics that are difficult to communicate about. You can really overwhelm people with the science or with the gloom and doom. And I feel that art has really stepped into this sphere. It enables people to sort of emotionally connect to the topic to learn without really knowing that they’re learning because they’re really like immersed in something beautiful, interactive. It’s a way to get your hands dirty, but at the same time, you know, create something beautiful that’s also educational. And the more that I looked into it, and the more that I got to know some of the artists that we invited to the conference who shared their stories and who shared the ways in which they curate these sort of visual creations to connect people to the topic of water and water restoration was really inspiring.

And I just wanted to have the audience recognize that there’s a lot of different ways to communicate with their  local constituents or stakeholders in order to convey the message about water, that we can use art to do that in addition to our scientific reports and our scientific studies. And it can really just help people feel a connection in a way that maybe they’ve never felt before. And it’s something I’m still continuing to learn about. So it was very, very well received. In fact, I just got an email from an attendee who has actually taken the hands-on activity — it was an exhibit by one of our artists, Katie Dement, where people could create sort of a 3D watershed using paper and paint — and one of the attendees has already created a flyer for an event that she’s going to host in her community based on this art activity. So I’m already seeing that the conference is making a difference locally.

Derek Maiolo: (17:35)
I know POWR also has some opportunities for funding for some of these community watershed organizations or other people involved with watershed work. But could you talk about some of the grant opportunities currently available?

Tali MacArthur: (17:48)
Yes. I’ll talk about two that I know for sure are open right now. One of those is that we are currently accepting nominations for the Pennsylvania River of the Year. Watershed organizations and similar entities can nominate their river. This is an opportunity to really showcase the iconic rivers in Pennsylvania. There’s a selection committee that reviews all the nominations and then anywhere between three and five of the rivers are then put up for public vote. And the organization that nominated that river is responsible for getting out the vote. So after the votes are tallied, the organization that nominated the winning river gets about a $10,000 award that they can then use for paddling and recreational opportunities, for cleanup events, for education and outreach, for really anything that helps celebrate that river in 2024. So that’s open right now. So I encourage you to check that out and maybe nominate your local river and local creek. And don’t be afraid if you think you’re too small. We’ve had small rivers that have gotten more votes than the gigantic, you know, really, really well known rivers of Pennsylvania. So you’re never too small, you know, to celebrate, and you never know what kind of local support you can get, even if they don’t win. I’ve had organizations that generated so much interest and so much passion and so much awareness about their rivers that they ended up having a whole festival kicked into gear because they didn’t win, but people realized you know, how important it is and, and that these organizations are out there.

And then the other opportunity that we have is called the Statewide Waterway Access Grant, and that is basically for improvement, enhancement planning, development of new non-motorized access points and launch points on rivers that can be navigated with a canoe or a kayak or a standup paddleboard or even a tube. We can provide funding to help improve and provide additional access for folks so they can get out on the river and enjoy, you know, those amazing recreational opportunities. So that, again, is the Statewide Waterway Access Grant and affectionately known as SWAG.

Derek Maiolo: (19:55)
Thank you, Tali. We will link to those grant opportunities also in our show notes. Anything else that you would like to add?

Tali MacArthur (20:02)
Again, I just want to say thank you so much to the Statewide Conference Planning Committee, to PEC staff that really helped pull that off. And it just was such a pleasure to be able to provide what I think was a really unique and fun and educational program to folks, whether again, it was the plenary, the concurrent tracks, the jeopardy, and just the networking opportunities. So, you know, we’ll keep some information from the conference up on our website soon. We’ll be able to hopefully provide copies of some of the PowerPoint presentations that were presented at the conference. We still list our sponsors, which again, we could not, we could not host this event without the support of our sponsors. So just because the event is over, you know, the learning and the, and the networking and the connections are far from over.

Derek Maiolo: (20:48)
Well, Tali MacArthur, program manager for watershedOutreach at the Pennsylvania Environmental Council. Thank you so much for being on Pennsylvania Legacies.

Tali MacArthur: (20:56)
It was a pleasure. You’re welcome.

Josh Raulerson: (21:00)
That was PEC Program Manager Tali MacArthur, speaking with Derek Maiolo about the recently concluded Watersheds Conference in Altoona. And to round out this episode, let’s hear now from a few of the participants.

Katy DeMent: (21:16)
My name is Katy DeMent. I use she/her pronouns and my title is the Paper Lady. We’re doing a simple project based on recycled paper, making a crumpled paper watershed. We start with a recycled three-by-five card, and we crumple it into a ball and then flatten it out to look at the topography. We can embellish it with colored pencils, and then we spray it with blue water and watch what happens. Making a little watershed that you can hold in your hand is a great way to demonstrate all of the concepts related to watersheds. My philosophy is that hands-on making is gonna be more memorable, or at least the most memorable way that I learn.

Victoria Prizzia: (22:05)
I’m Victoria Prizzia, founder of Habithèque Inc. Habithèque works to build awareness with environmental issues through the lens of water. I use creativity, the imagination, adventure as the gateway to talk about environmental issues, specifically water. And so for me, the creative process is the work, and then there’s the product of that work. And so when you gather all of these people together to think about the issues facing humanity, and it’s really, I think, through creativity that we’re going to come up with the solutions that are good for all living things. A place like this can make, you know, connections that I maybe wouldn’t have been able to otherwise. And so I, I think it’s a nice expansion of potential collaborators.

Ben Franek: (22:53)
I’m Ben Franek. I wear several hats. I’m the president of the Briar Creek Association for Watershed Solutions, BCAWS. We’ve been together for over a decade. We do several things. We do public outreach, we do field work, we’ll monitor water quality and quantity. We work with, you know, landowners, various groups to implement these projects where we’re cleaning up, you know, our waterways, try to get the, the natural world functioning as good as it can, if you will. So we do that. We do stream cleanups, for example, on one property, one project we did, we helped get some animals, horses, they were rescue horses, and we got them out of the stream. But we wanted to allow them to get down and to get water. So we put in some fencing, repaired the riparian buffer on that area along the stream.We repaired that and we put in an agricultural ramp so those horses can go in there and water, but not destroy the banks and pollute, things like that. So that’s a big, big success because that project,  you know, we’ve got a nice forest growing there now, so it looks good, it’s functioning properly. Within one season of us doing that project, we had mink, muskrats, all kinds of water, snakes, fish were coming back in. So it was, it was a, a good project. That’s the kind of stuff that we’re trying to do while promoting the economy, local economy, businesses, industry, all that kind of stuff. We’re, we’re trying to bring all those things together as best we can. We’re in tune with what’s happening in our neighborhoods. My local board there for the watershed group, they’re from the area. They know it, their families have been there, and some of them moved there recently. So you get this mix of people who have different ideas of what that area can be like. But, but they’re key. They’re the ones who are going out and monitoring every week. You know, for one project that we did, we went out and we monitor streams every two weeks for a year. So when the air temperature was two degrees Fahrenheit, my team was into water, you know, so, so they’re key to getting a lot of this work done. We partner with local municipalities who are fantastic, county government, state, federal. We help be the glue to bring a lot of that stuff together and get the work done with those other partners. So we’re one of those key pieces of the puzzle without which many things would not get done.

Nancy Agati: (25:04)
My name is Nancy Agati, and I am an artist, and I live in Philadelphia. I kind of fell into the idea of permeable surfaces by answering a call for the New Jersey Coastal Climate Resilience Project, and that asked for mitigation strategies for flooding in Atlantic City and along the New Jersey coast. And that was kind of my answer as to one of the ways to let the water absorb into the ground. It’s an abstracted map of the coastline from Brigantine, Atlantic City and Margate, Ventnor. And it is like a mosaic made out of permeable surface materials: gravel sand, seashell, bricks, um, native plants, et cetera. And the idea was that we were trying to show the susceptible area of flooding with that map, but it’s also a beautifying area in the ground, and it’s next to a very large sidewalk. So you can, the people who come can observe that the water is absorbing in the permeable surface and it’s puddling on the sidewalk or flooding. Atlantic City floods all the time, and there is a lot of paving. And unfortunately,  the properties right along the coast, which are all the casinos in the big hotels, are less likely because they’re actually higher than the back bay. And one, one experience that I had was one woman came and said, you know, I had had a contractor scheduled to come and pave my driveway, and I canceled him, and I’m looking into how to, to do it with permeable pavers. So that was pretty sweet. I think that art is a communication tool. I think that a lot of people cringe when they look at statistics and numbers and lots of words. And if you have images, if you hands have hands-on projects that people can actually engage with the materials and understand, it’s just a barrier breakdown. And then you can introduce more statistical information that then makes sense, because I saw this.

Beth Intoccia: (27:14)
Beth Intoccia, I’m the chairperson for the Litter Lifters of West Vincent Township in Chester County. I volunteer for the Litter Lifters. I volunteer for Keep Chester County beautiful. I’m on the steering committee, and I volunteer for Green Valleys Watershed in Northern Chester County. I partnered with Chris Lebar, who started a group called Save the Schuylkill. It’s now a 501(c)3 nonprofit. They wanted to clean up a section of the Schuylkill River near Phoenixville between Chester and Montgomery County. It’s a three-mile stretch. We started working on this event in January and August 26th. We had 115 volunteers. We put the kayak and paddleboards in at Lock 60 and then exited at Port Providence. We filled two dumpsters with debris. One was tires. We got 80 tires hauled out of the river, and the other dumpster was just general debris. It was a hugely successful event. We got Montgomery County Park involved. We got a township involved with their EMS department. We got water safety involved, fire department involved with traffic. Yeah. And they’re going to do a lot more cleanups because we could not get all of the debris out of the water. I’ve always cared about the environment, and I am appalled at the amount of litter along the roads, and that eventually ends up in the waterways. And I became a waterway store with Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful. But I just know that we deserve and should have clean water. We need to control the pollution that’s in the waterways and along the roadways and in the, the woods. I want to protect the wildlife. I also want to leave a better world for our young children. Sometimes I get discouraged. I feel like there’s, it’s just a monumental task to clean up, you know, say Chester County or clean up Pennsylvania. But then when I come to something like this, I realize there’s so many organizations doing really significant work in the same area. So it just kind of fuels me to think out of the box and do more.

Josh Raulerson : (29:14)
That was audio collected by PEC’s Derek Maiolo, on assignment at the 2023 Statewide Watersheds Conference held October 29th and 30th in Altoona, PA. Learn more about the Pennsylvania Organization for Watersheds and Rivers and get on the mailing list for the next conference in 2025 at the POWR website. You’ll find it at We’ll link there, of course, in the notes for this podcast episode on the PEC website, where you can hear all of our podcasts and learn about the work we’re doing, not just in watersheds, but also energy and climate trails and outdoor recreation reforestation and more. We’ll also link in the show notes to POWR’s report on statewide community watershed organizations and their collective impact. In the show notes, you’ll also find a video featuring Victoria Prizzia and the POOL exhibition she created at the Fairmount Waterworks Interpretive Center. That exhibition won the Waterworks the Special Places Award at PEC’s Philadelphia Awards dinner in 2022.

And by the way, this year’s dinner was held last Thursday, November 9th, celebrating the Discovery Center, a collaboration between Audubon Mid-Atlantic, and the Philadelphia Outward Bound School, and recognizing Montgomery County for its leadership on sustainability, open space preservation, and trails. Over the next few weeks, we’ll be sharing video profiles on those awardees on the website, where we’ve also been telling the stories of Northeastern Pennsylvania’s unsung environmental heroes as part of PEC’s recent Awards dinner in the Northeast. We are handing out awards all over the state. There’s lots to celebrate out there, and we encourage you to join the celebration once again, That’s all for this time. Thanks for tuning in for Pennsylvania Legacies. We’ll see you on the next one coming out after the Thanksgiving holiday. Hope yours is a good one. And until then, for the Pennsylvania Environmental Council and Derek Maiolo, I’m Josh Raulerson. As always, thanks for listening.