What does a local Audubon chapter have in common with a solar-powered business incubator? They’re both making a difference in northeastern Pennsylvania by building community connections around environmental projects. The Stourbridge Project and the Greater Wyoming Valley Audubon Society were awarded 2021 Northeast PA Environmental Partnership awards for their work to build relationships with and improve their region.
In addition its business incubator programs, the Stourbridge Project provides coworking space, a prototyping lab, and educational programs to the community at low- or no-cost. Its most recent addition is a 33 KW rooftop photovoltaic system.
“When you have a building based on innovation and moving things forward, you should probably generate your electricity through solar energy,” said Jocelyn Cramer, Wayne County Commissioner.
The Stourbridge Project generates 40-50% of its annual electricity through its rooftop solar panels. The panels were financed by a public-private partnership and by the Clean Energy Co-op. Co-op members invested in the project, and over time will receive dividends from the project. A local artist helped design educational displays for the Stourbridge building, and a local heating and cooling installation business helped instal the panels. The project was truly a community effort.
Recently the Greater Wyoming Valley Audubon society recently partnered with DCNR to track birds, install kestrel and bluebird boxes, and grow a pollinator garden at Moon Lake in Pinchot State Forest. They have been working with DCNR since 2017 to enhance and create bird habitat and promote the area as a birding destination.
“We’ve had 40 years or more of wonderful partnerships with the community… what will be important is we find more like-minded folks to get involved,” said Bonnie Yuscavage.
“We are a family, and we’d like to extend our family.”