Under the heading of "Act Now," we found out this week (belatedly perhaps) of a Lights, Camera, Quarantine short film contest sponsored by Steeltown Entertainment. Head over to Steeltown's YouTube channel to view and vote for your favorites - but you must do so before 4:00 today!
Nice shot this week from the Exploring PA Parks & Forests Facebook page of Frances Slocum State Park where James Mazeika ran into some mist over the water.
Pennsylvania Parks & Forests Foundation
News of Note
PPFF Marci hosted another video from her back yard this week, demonstrating a couple of favorite yoga poses for this Year of the Trees (and every year). Beginning with calming mountain pose and moving into the classic tree pose, take a few deep breaths and join Marci for some stress relief. And don't worry if you tip over. We all do!
While you are over there on YouTube, we've been hearing for months now how we are to wash our hands thoroughly and often. And you probably think you have this basic hygiene routine down pretty pat. I say nay! At least not until you watch this YouTube video demonstrating how it's to be done.
Seamstresses and tailors; we need you! Since the announcement of the CDC's recommendation to wear a non-medical mask whenever you are out "in society" (limited though that should be), we are sure you've seen a lot of videos demonstrating how to make a mask for yourself. Without a sewing machine, I put together a couple of the really basic ones for Bill and me to use (although he is going NOWHERE).
The sewn versions are a little sturdier and are eagerly sought by DCNR for the park and forest staff who are still working the front lines in our parks and forests. Can you help? Marci is gathering information on volunteers - how many you can make, where you will send them, etc. - so that we can be sure that they are being distributed in as wide a network as possible. A tutorial from the PA Department of Health links to this New York Times article with detailed instructions on a good, washable, reusable version.
And the best part is you can stretch your artistic muscles and make a lovely specimen like our creative and loyal supporter of parks and forests above!
We are really proud of the work that has taken place at the CCC "Camp Tree Army" project at Laurel Hill State Park over the last several years (with many thanks to donations from PPFF supporters to get the money for the muscle). And now the PA Historical and Museum Commission will be placing an historic marker at the park to recognize its having the largest intact group of CCC buildings in the park system.
Monday morning we got wind of a budget amendment that was being introduced to freeze special funds related to the environment. Fortunately, the amendment didn’t move, but you can read our comments on the COVID-19 news blog.
On Wednesday, PPFF Marci met (virtually, of course) with PA Cleanways, DCNR and the PA Outdoor Corps to discuss how we come together to steward our parks and forests once we can get back outside to do volunteerism. While there will be some immediate needs, we are looking a statewide effort of conservation and stewardship in September and October. Keep an eye on our calendar. In the meantime, if you notice any forest dumping, graffiti, or large scale littering, please read the press release from PA Cleanways. These reports will be shared with PPFF so that we can plan our efforts in cleaning up after COVID-19.
Speaking of things that have to be done TODAY - the Bonfire Earth Day 50 campaign closes at the turn of the calendar page.
The educational resources on the EarthDay50PA.org website continue to expand as more and more online opportunities for education come flooding in. This unprecedented time is at least accompanied by an equally unprecedented opportunity to learn and do things you would never have dreamed possible.
One of my favorite newly-linked resources is a comprehensive list of "virtual field trips" compiled by the North American Association for Environmental Education. Visit national parks, museums, zoos and aquariums, and nest cams.
Among the events that had to be cancelled was the Downtown Mechanicsburg Partnership's street fair. They had already commissioned specially painted rain barrels from five local schools for an auction in support of the Partnership's events, including NEXT year's Earth Day!
Instead of a live auction on the streets of Mechanicsburg, the Partnership is sponsoring a silent auction through April 22. Find the barrels and place a bid at BiddingOwl.com. (Click on "Everything Else" to go directly to the barrels.)
Pictures of the Week
The photos this week offer testimony to the sheer variety of experiences available in our state parks and forests. Aren't we lucky in spite of everything!
At Presque Isle State Park, Patricia Anderson found nothing on the beach but driftwood.
In response to a citizen science quiz from the Prince Gallitzin State Park Facebook page, Neil Huntsinger shared this shot of the Three Musketeers.
Okay, so this isn't a picture from this week but it struck me in looking through the Friends of Michaux State Forest's Facebook page that Hammonds Rocks (photographed here last December) looks a whole lot better covered in snow than it did in graffiti.
This photo is a few months old from the Cherry Springs State Park Facebook page. It's wonderful and so is photographer Xavier Garcia-Molina's comment: "Drove 4 hours to lay in the snow and ugly cry at the beauty of the billion stars above me. Middle of nowhere, PA just made their way to my '10 Favorite Places in The World' list. Now time to drive back home in awe and reflection!"
Take Five for Trivia
Reader Ray was kind enough to send a lovely shot of Dutchman's breeches from his recent walk along the Northwest Lancaster County River Trail (a trail I've had the pleasure to bike with PPFF Marci) and I've cropped it down to a sweet little sample of these perfect posies. There are a bunch of nicknames for the little blooms/bloomers including my favorite of the bunch, Little Blue Staggers, "derived from its ability to induce drunken staggering if cattle graze on it, due to narcotic and toxic substances in the poppy-related genus."
Other common names: bleeding heart (there is controversy over that one; some online sources do say that it is another name for the britches while others point out that while they are of the same Dicentra genus, the britches are Dicentra cucullaria while bleeding heart is Dicentra formosa), butterfly banner, kitten breeches, soldiers' cap. The leaves are lovely, too.
Many will know that the "musketeers" pictured above are actually eastern red-spotted newts, among how many salamander species native to Pennsylvania?
Send your answer to me and I'll enter you into the month's random drawing for a goodie from the prize closet if you answer correctly. Enter each week for more chances to win.
Pennsylvania Parks & Forests Foundation (PPFF) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization - contributions to which are tax deductible to the fullest extent permitted by law. The official registration and financial information of PPFF may be obtained from the Pennsylvania Department of State by calling, toll-free within Pennsylvania, to 800.732.0999. Registration does not imply endorsement.