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This page houses archived copies of posts and materials published on the PEC website since 2014. Use the tools below to search or browse legacy content including publications, handouts, maps and trail information, audio and video, blog posts, newsletters, and more.

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The state budget passed in July represents Pennsylvania’s biggest investment in conservation in more than 15 years, including funding for three new state parks. DCNR Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn returns to the podcast for a closer look at what’s in the 2022-23 budget for the environment and outdoor recreation. The 2022-23 budget includes a historic investment in the environment and conservation in Pennsylvania. $696 million will help fund outdoor recreation, habitat restoration and preservation, the Outdoor Corps, and other projects. The budget also added 31 new DCNR staff positions. One of the most talked-about budget additions is the $56 million…
For more than 70 years, the Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission (ORSANCO) has worked with Pennsylvania and seven other states to improve water quality in the Ohio River Basin. In addition to its extensive monitoring and data collection efforts, ORSANCO offers programs to help people connect with their local waterways and become better stewards. Lily Jones talks with outreach specialist Nick Callahan about ORSANCO’s annual River Sweep cleanup and floating environmental education classroom. The Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission (ORSANCO) has collaborated with member states for over 70 years to improve water quality in the Ohio River Basin.…
Low-producing “marginal” wells contribute less than a tenth of the oil and gas produced in the U.S. So why are they responsible for half of the industry’s methane emissions?
It’s easy to get demoralized in the face of climate change, especially when it feels like there’s nothing we, as individuals, can do about it. An initiative from the Carnegie Museum of Natural History (CMNH) in Pittsburgh is trying to change the dynamic by reframing the crisis in terms of local impacts and helping western Pennsylvanians meet it on their own terms. PEC’s Lily Jones spoke with Dr. Bonnie McGill of CMNH’s Climate and Rural Systems Partnership. The science is settled, and by now most people believe that climate change is real and happening now. Broad majorities, both nationally and…
An exit interview with program manager Marla Meyer Papernick as she departs from PEC and DCNR’s Laurel Highlands Conservation Landscape, where Marla has served as external lead since 2015. We look back on what the effort has accomplished since then, and what the Landscape’s new strategic plan says about its future. Pennsylvania has eight conservation landscapes: regions with a strong sense of place that include the presence of state-owned public lands, and the potential for economic growth centered on natural resources and the outdoors. Conservation landscapes bring together state and local government, businesses, community groups, advocates for conservation and outdoor recreation,…
Almost everything made of plastic starts out as “nurdles”: lentil-sized bits that sometimes get loose and end up in rivers and streams, where aquatic creatures easily mistake them for food. On the heels of a train derailment that spilled carloads of plastic pellets and crude oil into the Allegheny River in May, western PA watershed groups are working with university researchers and citizen scientists to measure the presence of nurdles in the region’s waterways. Anything made of plastic starts out as fungible feedstock that’s melted and reshaped into something new. These tiny pellets of proto-plastic, called “nurdles,” can easily get…
In celebration of National Trails Day on June 4, a repeat of our 2020 conversation with planning architect and trails historian Chuck Flink about his book, The Greenway Imperative. Chuck Flink wrote the book on greenways — literally. 1993’s Greenways: A Guide To Planning Design And Development, co-authored with Robert Searns and addressed to the professional planning community, helped launch a global movement in landscape architecture. In The Greenway Imperative: Connecting Communities & Landscapes for a Sustainable Future, published in 2020, Flink makes the case for greenways to a broader audience. He has collaborated extensively with PEC throughout the years…
This Memorial Day weekend marks the unofficial start of boating season in Pennsylvania, as well as National Safe Boating Week.
Outcome-based financing is an innovative way to leverage markets to fund socially impactful projects that can be difficult to finance using conventional models. Amie Fleming of Quantified Ventures, a D.C.-based capital firm specializing in the application of outcome-based financing to environmental, public health, and community-development initiatives, joins us to explain how it works. One of the challenges of sustainability-focused projects is that their positive impacts often aren’t felt until years after the projects begin. This can sometimes make it difficult to get investors to put money behind what they might see as uncertain future results. In recent years a potential…
We celebrate Earth Day in conversation with Pennsylvania-born Rosalie Haizlett, a nature illustrator who’s had work commissioned by the Smithsonian and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. She tells PEC’s Lily Jones why she believes the arts can be a gateway to stewardship. Pennsylvania Environmental Council · The Little Things Pennsylvania-born Rosalie Haizlett makes a living bringing nature to life on paper and canvas. As a nationally recognized nature illustrator, she’s been commissioned by the Smithsonian and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and has completed artist residencies with the National Audubon Society and the U.S. Park Service. Last year her work was featured…
The Wild and Scenic Film Festival On Tour returns to Pennsylvania this month with in-person and virtual screenings hosted by PEC and POWR. One of the featured films, “A River Reborn”, is a new documentary about how the Little Conemaugh River in Cambria County is rebounding from decades of pollution. We discuss the film with its director, Ben Kalina, of Mangrove Media. Pennsylvania Environmental Council · River Story   The Wild and Scenic Film Festival On Tour returns to Pennsylvania this month, with a cinematic celebration of the outdoors you can enjoy virtually or in-person. It’s sponsored by PEC and the…
In Pennsylvania, fun is serious business. Amid growing recognition of outdoor recreation as a vital sector of the state’s economy — not to mention an indispensable public good — the state agency tasked with managing Pennsylvania’s natural resources is making a bold investment in the outdoor industry, while reaffirming its commitment to ensuring equitable access for all Pennsylvanians. On this episode, we’re getting to know Pennsylvania’s first-ever statewide recreation czar, Nathan Reigner, and his vision for the newly-established Office of Outdoor Recreation within DCNR. Pennsylvania Environmental Council · Taking Recreation Seriously   Every state has a Department of Conservation and…