Action Alert – EPA Regulation of Oil & Gas for Air Quality
(From David Masur at PennEnvironment) – Click here to support air pollution controls on drilling.
Action Alert – Protect State Funding for Parks, Trails & Farmland
(From Clearwater Conservancy) – We’re asking everyone to take a moment and sign on to a petition to prevent Harrisburg from permanently decreasing funding for the programs that protect our land, water, air and communities in Pennsylvania. It is important that you sign on with your name, zip code and email address. Also, spread the word by forwarding this email to your networks or liking our petition post on our Facebook page.
The signatories of this petition urge the General Assembly to reject the Governor’s proposed cuts to, and elimination of, essential environmental, conservation and recreation programs. Under the proposed budget, the Corbett administration has proposed:
- Transferring $30 million from the Keystone Recreation, Park and Conservation Fund to the general fund, and permanently eliminating this popular and important conservation and recreation program. This is the largest cut in conservation funding in state history.
- Diverting the state’s cigarette sales tax from its historical purpose of funding farmland preservation to funding the general fund. This is a permanent diversion that will eventually kill this critical program.
- Continuing the flawed practice of using the Environmental Stewardship Fund to pay the Growing Greener II bond debt service, leaving just $23 million available for Growing Greener programs and projects, the lowest amount of funding in recent decades.
Together, these programs have supported thousands of park and trail projects throughout the Commonwealth, preserved thousands of acres of family farmland, conserved thousands of acres of threatened open space and protected hundreds of miles of streams and waterways. In addition, they have contributed and leveraged billions of dollars to the Pennsylvania economy by helping to boost tourism, create jobs and generate revenue. More information can be found at Conservation Advocate.
April 16 – 20 – Earth Week at PSU
(From Carolyn Harpster) – Help the Blue and White go green! Penn State will be offering recycling tours, education films and a presentation by E.O. Wilson entitled “The Social Conquest of Earth.” The week’s activities will culminate in a large Earth Day Celebration on Friday, April 20, 2012 from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at Alumni Hall in the HUB-Robeson Center sponsored by the Campus Sustainability Office, Center for Sustainability, Office of Student Affairs and others, featuring leaders from around Penn State dedicated to teaching the community about being Earth-friendly…
April 20 – “Make Mozzarella” Potluck
(From LaCreta Holland of Happy Valley Learn to Cook) – “Hi everyone – I am a follower of a website called Food52, created with the awesome idea that, even though celebrity chefs and the Food Network have their place, the home cook has a lot to share with others…
Food52 is sponsoring local “make mozzarella potlucks,” gatherings where like-minded foodie party-goers will be able to watch and/or make homemade mozzarella and enjoy eating it served with California Olive Ranch Olive Oil, courtesy of Food52. Oh, and also have a wonderful potluck dinner to socialize and share recipes! I’m hosting a mozzarella potluck this Friday, April 20, 2012, at 6:30 PM at my home in State College. I have room for only 10 people in my kitchen, so if you’re interested in trying your hand at making fresh mozzarella and enjoying an evening with like-minded foodies, email to RSVP at firstname.lastname@example.org. And start thinking about what yummy dish you will bring to contribute to this dinner!
April 21 – Apple Blossom Festival
(From Brooks & Sharon Way at Way Fruit Farm in Port Matilda) – What a spring we have been having! From warmer than average days to frosty, cold nights of 19 & 21 degrees here at our farm, it seems we are in for an interesting growing season. The good news is that the peaches are fine, apples are okay, although some varieties suffered loss on the coldest nights recently. However, don’t get your hopes up for sweet cherries or apricots this year, as they were out in full blossom and were lost completely during the cold temperatures this month. We will miss those fruit seasons this year, but unfortunately, that’s farming! We do still have some apple blossoms to come, so read on for information about our annual Apple Blossom Festival..
Come on out for our Annual Apple Blossom Festival to be held Saturday, April 21 from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m We will offer lots of fun activities for the whole family, including free wagon rides through the apple orchard where you can see & smell the sweet blossoms and get off the wagon for picture-taking opportunities too. By popular demand, we will again be offering Guided Tractor Driving lessons for all ages. There will be a charge for this activity and all money will be donated to the Rose of Sharon Orphanage in the Dominican Republic (just like our Fall festival proceeds).
Our Cafe will be open for both breakfast (8 a.m. – 1 p.m.) & lunch (11 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.) and we hope you’ll bring the family out for some from-scratch pancakes, omelettes, local ham, bacon & sausage for breakfast, or maybe a snack of some of our freshly baked Apple Cider donuts, fresh-pressed cider, hot coffee & more! For lunch, don’t forget we make our own sweet chicken salad, strombolis, & quiche and we serve delicious, local pulled pork BBQ and offer vegetarian options daily too!
When you come out to the farm, you’ll still find some of our apples for baking & fresh eating & our fresh-pressed cider is still flowing! Currently available: Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, Jonagold, & Ida Red. We have stocked our shelves with lots of new, local products this winter. If you haven’t had a chance to see them, come on out each weekend and do some free sampling to find your new favorites!
April 21 – Watershed Cleanup Day
(From Clearwater Conservancy) ClearWater’s annual Watershed Cleanup Day, an effort to eliminate illegal waste in Centre County’s watersheds, will be held April 21. Individuals, families, businesses and other groups are encouraged to pitch in either by taking part in the cleanup or through our Buy a Ton ‘O Trash donation program and then join us for a picnic at Spring Creek Park at noon.
Sponsor the disposal of trash collected on Watershed Cleanup Day by donating $70 a ton or $35 a half ton. This is a great way to take part for those that cannot come and pick up trash with us April 21.
Since 1997, we have removed and properly disposed of 2,787 tons of trash from the Spring Creek, Bald Eagle Creek, Beech Creek, Penns Creek, and Little Fishing Creek Watersheds. For more information, or to volunteer or donate, please contact Nick Schipanski at 814-237-0400 or email@example.com.
April 22 – Film Screening – Democracy Rising
(From Braden Crooks of the Groundswell Campaign) – This Sunday April 22 will be the annual Blue/White Film Festival, featuring student films. One of those films will be the new Groundswell Documentary Short: Democracy Rising , 6:30 p.m. on Sunday, April 22 at the State Theater.
Two film students, Nick Miller and Nathan Larimer, have been working since September to film, edit and score the documentary short (15 min) about Groundswell. This is the first time anyone will see it! Invite everyone from Rush Township, because the filmmakers used our trip to the Rush drill pad, and the way potential fracking in Rush Township influenced our motivation in State College, as a particular focus in the film.
Tickets are $7. Send the info about the film to whomever you think would be interested! Our film will be one of many entertaining films, so it should be a good time.
(Elaine Meder-Wilgus of Webster’s Bookstore Cafe adds…) – “The student film festival usually sells out very quickly, so you might want to confirm your tickets within the next few days! Congratulations!”
April 24 – Vote for Home Rule in Rush Township
(From the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund) – “…in Pennsylvania, a Home Rule campaign is underway in Rush Township, where citizens are determined to be the decision makers in their community. On April 24, residents will vote to create a Home Rule Charter to ensure the right of community members to make critical decisions for the township. Read more on our website.”
April 25 – Film Screening “The Island President”
(From Ed Perry of National Wildlife Federation) – “Instead of having our regular monthly Beer and Wine Summit, I suggest we all meet at the State Theater on April 25, 6:30pm, to view the real world impacts of our failure to pass climate legislation and then discuss with the panelists what we can do to get our science-challanged elected representatives to take action.”
…As part of Earth Day/Earth Week activities at Penn State, which run from April 16 to 25, there will be a free screening of “The Island President,” an award-winning documentary that follows former Maldives President Mohamed Nasheed as he tries to shine a spotlight on the issue of climate change. The event begins at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 25, at the State Theatre in downtown State College. A panel discussion will follow the screening, which is co-sponsored by Penn State Outreach and Penn State’s Rock Ethics Institute.
The Maldives is one of the lowest lying countries in the world. Some estimates predict that a 3-foot rise in sea level could leave the country completely submerged by 2050. The documentary chronicles Nasheed’s first year in office as he strives to have his voice heard around the world. The film has won awards at the Toronto, Telluride and Sundance Film Festivals. Nancy Tuana, director of the Rock Ethics Institute, will moderate the Penn State panel discussion which will include: Tom Keiter, creative director for WPSU; Klaus Keller, associate professor of geosciences; Petra Tschakert, associate professor of geography; and Bob Potter, community leader and president of Potter Development Services.
Click here to view the trailer. No tickets are required for the screening of “The Island President.” Admission will be first come, first served.
April 22 & 29 – Creation Care Forums
(From Sylvia Neely of Creation Care Coalition of Centre County and PA-IPL) – St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church Environmental Concerns Committee invites you to a series of Sunday morning forums on spirituality and creation care. The hour-long forums will take place at 9 a.m. in Room 324 of the Parish Life Building on the corner of Foster and Fraser, in State College. Please spread the word.
- April 22: Rev. Dee Calhoun, Retired Rector of Trinity Episcopal Church in Renovo will speak on Stewardship: A Measure of Spirituality, expanding on the podcast on Marcellus Shale impacts that she presented for the Diocese of Central Pennsylvania in Advent.
- April 29: Glenn Mitchell, Director of Training and Program for Oasis Ministries, will speak on Moses as Environmental Mystic. Using the scriptural stories of Moses, he’ll explore the ways that Moses encountered God intimately in the natural world, and how encountering God in creation can inform spirituality today.
April Events at Shavers Creek Environmental Center
- April 22 – Earth Day Spring Clean-Up – 11:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m.; Cost: FREE. – What better way to spend Earth Day than volunteering with your friends and family for some spring cleaning at Shaver’s Creek? Join with other members and volunteers to help us complete a stewardship project at our Earth Day Spring Clean-Up. Projects will include habitat restoration (yanking out invasive species); cleaning, painting, and dusting of the facility; and trail work. Bring a picnic lunch and relax at the end of the day with some ice cream provided by us! Call (814) 863-2000 for more information or to register—please consider committing to a two-and-a-half hour piece of time.
- April 27 – An Evening of Storytelling, 6:00–7:30 p.m.; Cost: $12 per family; $10 per family of members – Clem Bowen, an engaging and imaginative storyteller, often delights children in schools and libraries in the Northeast. As a special treat, he’s visiting Shaver’s Creek at the end of April with natural history stories. He may have you giggling with the music and movement! Recommended for families with kids ages preschool to 3rd grade. Please call Shaver’s Creek at 814-863-2000 to pre-register.
- April 18, 25, May 2, 9 & 16 – Migration Mornings, Wednesdays, 7:00–8:30 a.m.; Cost: FREE – Take a leisurely hike to see and hear the numerous bird species that migrate through central Pennsylvania. Shaver’s Creek naturalists Doug Wentzel and Joshua Potter will help participants identify the songs, calls and field marks of species from hawks and eagles to thrushes and woodpeckers. Bring a good pair of hiking boots, binoculars, any guide books you have, and an inquisitive mind! Migration Morning walks are open to birders of all experience levels. Some binoculars are available to borrow. For more information, please call Shaver’s Creek at 814-863-2000 or email ShaversCreek@outreach.psu.edu. This program is free thanks to the generous support of our members and Wiscoy for Animals.
May 12 – Women in the Wilds at Black Moshannon State Park – Register by May 7
The PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR), and the Friends of Black Moshannon will host its third annual Women in the Wilds event on May 12, 2012 at Black Moshannon State Park in Philipsburg, PA.
Women in the Wilds uses expert instructors to teach outdoor skills using a hands-on approach. The classes for this event include: kayaking, canoeing, archery, campfire cooking, owl box building, colonial candle dipping, fly-fishing, fly-tying, auto mechanics 101, outdoor photography, painting in the outdoors, bluebird habitat, soap making, native plant gardening, personal security in the wilds, atlatl, map and compass, and trapping.
The Women In The Wilds event is open to women beginning at the age of 14 years old. The cost per person is $40, which covers snacks and drinks for breakfast, lunch, four classes, and if you register by April 16, you will receive a free T-shirt. All registrations must be received by May 7, 2012. For more information and/or to register for the event, contact Michelle McCloskey (Event Coordinator) at 814-342-5960 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
May 15 & May 17 – FREE Agroforestry Training Workshops – Register by April 30
(From Tracey Coulter, Reforestation Coordinator for DCNR Bureau of Forestry/Rural and Community Forestry Section) – The DCNR Bureau of Forestry, Penn State and Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center will host two agroforestry workshops in May. Agroforestry is the intentional integration of trees and shrubs in combination with crops or livestock to create a system that is managed to provide economic, environmental and social benefits to landowners. The five key practices of agroforestry are
- Silvopasture – the integration of trees and livestock
- Forest Farming – including such non-timber products as maple syrup, ramps, or mushrooms
- Riparian Forest Buffers – planting trees along streams to enhance water quality
- Alley Cropping – the intercropping of plants between rows of trees for food, fiber, or forage.
The first workshop will be held on May 15 at Rock Springs (Ag Progress Days) in Centre County, and will focus on forest farming and windbreaks. Paul Patterson (PSU) will present a session on the use of vegetative windbreaks in poultry operations and will guide an afternoon tour of windbreak demonstration plantings. Windbreaks create both physical and visual barriers that are especially important in areas where development encroaches on farms. Eric Burkhart (Shaver’s Creek) and Jim Finley (Penn State School of Forest Resources) will lead a tour of the Rock Springs Demonstration Woodlot to highlight opportunities for development of non-timber forest products on farm woodlots. Registration is limited to 75 participants.
The second workshop is scheduled for May 17 in Mifflintown, Juniata County. This workshop will focus on Forest Farming and Silvopasturing. Our guest speaker will be Brett Chedzoy from Cornell Cooperative Extension. Brett is an extension forester and grazier who works and farms near Watkins Glen, NY. After lunch, we will travel to East Waterford and Blue Rooster Farm, where State Forest District Manager Roy Brubaker will lead a discussion of the agroforestry practices he is implementing on his farm. Registration for this session is limited to 30 participants.
Registration is FREE (if postmarked before April 30th). These workshops are sponsored through a US Forest Service grant to promote agroforestry in Pennsylvania.
May 19 – Jump Start into Raising Sheep
(From Caroline and David Owens of Owens Farm in Sunbury PA) – We extend an invitation to new and prospective sheep owners to our annual one-day workshop. This hands-on event helps new sheep owners shorten their learning curve and avoid common beginner mistakes by spending a day with a panel of experienced shepherds and a large flock of mischievous sheep. Discussion and practice will cover topics such as
- How To Handle Sheep So They Don’t Handle You
- Best Buys For That First Sheep
- Home Vet Skills
- Fat, or Fluffy?
- Hoof Health
Half the day will be spent practicing essential management skills out in the sheep barn, the other half in small group discussion. A shared covered dish lunch will allow time for networking and conversation.
The guest shepherds include Jack Smith, the Minnich family, Julie Hurst and Roy Brubaker from Blue Rooster Farm in Juniata County. At Owens Farm, we’ve been raising sheep since 1992, and have witnessed the trials and tribulations of many beginning shepherds. We offer this workshop to help new sheep owners achieve early success and avoid unnecessary set-backs. Tuition is $45 for the first person in a family, $40 for the second. Preregistration is required, and attendance is capped at 25. Owens Farm is located between Sunbury and Danville. For more information and to register, visit our website, call (570) 286-5309 or email email@example.com.
May 19 – Master Gardeners Plant Sale
The Penn State Extension Master Gardeners of Centre County are hosting a regional Garden Fair & Plant Sale on May 19 from 9am to 3pm at Ag Progress Days Site at 2710 W. Pine Grove Rd., PA Furnace. The Garden Fair will feature 20+ vendor booths, exhibits and demonstrations, gardening talks and a composting workshop. The Pasto Ag Museum will be open for free tours and will feature a new gardening history exhibit. The ever popular Plant Sale will consist of thousands of potted plants including perennials, annuals, herbs, houseplants and vegetables. Vendors will also be selling trees, shrubs and organic vegetable plants. Ferguson Lions Club will be selling breakfast and lunch items. Parking and admission are free. Please visit our website for additional information:
June 2 – Trash to Treasure at PSU
Join us on June 2, 2012 in Beaver Stadium on the Penn State University Park Campus for the 11th annual Trash to Treasure Sale. Proceeds benefit 39 Centre County United Way local human services agencies. Volunteers needed! Trash to Treasure requires thousands of volunteer hours each year. Please join us in sorting or sales days and be part of an amazing community team.
June 8 – PA Women’s Agricultural Network – Annual Rodale Tour
(From Ann Stone at PA-WAgN) – The Rodale Institute has been at the forefront of organic and sustainable agriculture for over sixty years. They are a world leader in researching and promoting healthy soils, farms and bodies. PA-WAgN has teamed up with Rodale staff again this year to offer an informative window into some of the exciting projects happening at the Rodale Farm, including the Honey Bee Conservancy, Organic Dairy Transitioning, Rodale’s Farming Systems Trial, “the longest-running side-by-side study comparing conventional chemical agriculture and organic agriculture in the country;” and Rodale’s commercial composting facility. The $15.00 registration fee includes lunch and materials. Registration.
Sustainable Meat Debate
(From Tim Robinson) – Link to New York Times article by James McWilliams – “The Myth of Sustainable Meat:”
- “….the last decade has seen an exciting surge in grass-fed, free-range, cage-free and pastured options. These alternatives typically come from small organic farms, which practice more humane methods of production. They appeal to consumers not only because they reject the industrial model, but because they appear to be more in tune with natural processes. For all the strengths of these alternatives, however, they’re ultimately a poor substitute for industrial production. Although these smaller systems appear to be environmentally sustainable, considerable evidence suggests otherwise…”
A response from Sharon Astyk of Casaubon’s Book – “Context is Everything:”
“…Local food is regional food – and it differs from region to region. Sustainable food is regional food and is dramatically different from place to place. Recognizing, for example, that geese, who live on grass entirely, are a better poultry option in some places than chickens, is a process. Making sustainable chickens an integrated part of urban and suburban backyards, where they can be fed on neighborhood food wastes, rather than mostly on feed grains, is a process. Learning to love what grows well in your place, whether corn and chiles or potatoes and milk, and learning to accustom yourself to treating foods from far away as luxury items, rather than the basis of your diet, is an ongoing process.
The reality is that midwesterners with no forest should not get woodstoves. People with inadequate water for grazing livestock shouldn’t raise them. People in cold climates shouldn’t put up heated greenhouses to eat tomatoes in February. Some people should eat less beef and more rabbit. Other people should eat less chicken and more beef. Everyone should eat fewer animal products, and understand how they grow, that milk and eggs have seasons too, that natural cycles are real and that some things are simply not possible in some places and at some times…”