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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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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…
Last summer, the Fairmount Water Works in Philadelphia was all set to launch its first, much-anticipated, multimedia arts exhibition, which explored how water has shaped the city’s history, with a special focus on its role in the lives of Black Philadelphians. Just ahead of the scheduled opening, Hurricane Ida hit, forcing the event’s cancellation. POOL is now set to re-open on March 22 — World Water Day — with a new emphasis on environmental justice and resiliency in the face of climate change. We get a preview of the exhibit with Dionne Watts Williams, Communications Manager for Fairmount Waterworks. Pennsylvania…
Many organizations are working to improve Philadelphians’ access to the outdoors and its associated benefits. Many others are focused on food equity, food sovereignty, and public health. One group — the Philadelphia Orchard Project — is doing all of the above. We speak with Executive Director Kim Jordan about their efforts to transform vacant lots into neighborhood green spaces that produce healthy food for residents. Pennsylvania Environmental Council · A Fruitful Endeavor Tree cover is essential to the health of cities. Trees manage heat, control stormwater runoff, and reduce air pollution. But not all urban neighborhoods have equal access to…
Many religious traditions acknowledge the importance of environmental stewardship in their teachings — shared values that make religious organizations natural partners in watershed work. Interfaith Partners for the Chesapeake operates on this principle, working with faith communities in Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Washington D.C. to improve the health of the Chesapeake Bay watershed. We discuss with Jodi Rose, IPC’s Executive Director. Pennsylvania Environmental Council · Do Unto Those Downstream Stormwater management is one of the big infrastructural challenges facing Philadelphia and many urban areas. Too much rain in the wrong place can lead to flooding, sewer overflows, and other environmental and safety…