Our mission: To inspire stewardship of Pennsylvania’s state parks and forests.

There is beautiful blue sky outside my window on Thursday as I write this (getting a jump on things for the first time in several weeks). There is some rain in the forecast, alas, but a warming trend for the Highlands next week as May flowers begin to appear. I've been reading "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up" and striking terror in Bill's heart and the cat's. Well, there just is something about spring that inspires me to slough off the dead weight. My sock drawer has rarely been so organized!

When it comes to blue skies and inspiration, nothing beats a bunch of volunteers. Check out this great Earth Day group from Prince Gallitzin State Park - many thanks to all the people who gave their time to our favorite planet last weekend.

Thanks to Jeff Wartluft of the Friends of Beltzville for this week's masthead photo of Beltzville Lake shining through the trees. Gives you hope for kayak excursions to come, doesn't it?

Pam Metzger
Membership Coordinator

News of note

Another voice for the outdoors was stilled last week with the passing of retired forester John Konkle. John worked in Harrisburg and in the Elk, Moshannon, and Tiadaghton State Forests beginning in the summers of his teen years. A friend related that he was nicknamed "Polar Bear" because in bitter cold weather "he didn't wear much."

It's characters like those we particularly hate to lose!

On Tuesday evening, board member Mary Soderberg and PPFF's Marci and Amanda were hand to receive the Governor's Award for Environmental Excellence for the statewide "Graffiti: No Place in Nature" campaign. The award was proudly accepted on behalf of the hundreds of determined volunteers who gave countless hours to the project (which goes on) and the support of our donors and members.

Also on Tuesday evening, the Friends of Rothrock elected their first board on Tuesday night and adopted a mission statement that speaks to their intentions: "The Friends of Rothrock promote and support responsible public access to, education about, and enjoyment and stewardship of Rothrock State Forest for current and future generations." If you would like to become a Friend of Rothrock, let me know and I'll get you in touch with Chair Dan Trew (pending establishment of their website and other accessible links.)

You have one last weekend to see the Photo Gallery Showcase of Winners at Shawnee State Park - I'll be there on Tuesday to pack up the photographs and take them to PPFF Central for our banquet. Look for them thereafter at the Columbia Crossing River Trails Center in Columbia beginning with an opening night reception on May 29.

You also have one last chance to register for this year's awards banquet. We'll be shutting down the registration link on Monday so make your plans now to join us at The Susquehanna Club to formally thank all those wonderful volunteers and dedicated staff who make your parks and forests sparkle.

Register Now - Walk May 19!

At work and play in the parks and forests


Sources say that Saturday is National Go Birding Day, and Arbor Day, too. What a lovely combination.


The Saturday Morning Birding series continues at Hills Creek State Park; at Sizerville, they'll offer a Birding Basics tomorrow morning.


The Friends of Pinchot invite you to a native wildflower and plant sale beginning at 10:00 AM; then consider staying around for a hiking tour of the restored vernal pools that provide such crucial habitat.


Search the skies in the south AND north eastern regions - Ridley Creek says Let's Go Birding bright and early at 7:30 AM; head north to Promised Land for Masters of the Sky (that's eagles) a little later in the morning.


Hundreds of volunteers (includiing 2016 PPFF Award Winners the SONS of Lake Erie) take on a giant Presque Isle clean-up on Saturday, while in the southwest you can take a six to eight mile Trek to Tall Trees with Forbes State Forest and Laurel Hill State Park's naturalists OR head to Ohiopyle for a similar (though shorter) program there.

No matter what region of the commonwealth you want to visit, our website Events and the DCNR Calendar of Events are great sources for things to see and do. Bookmark them!

Picture of the week


This is one of the most exciting Pictures of the Week I've seen in quite a while. This is the elusive spring peeper. I heard them for the first time this year on yesterday morning's dog walk and apparently you actually can see them - if you are very, very lucky. Congratulations to Adrian Bara-Popa for capturing this little guy at Nolde Forest Environmental Education Center. Definitely click to the original for a ... peep.

Take five for trivia


Great answers to the question of two striking features of the Rothrock State Forest (named for Father of PA Forestry Joseph Rothrock)! People do love this state forest (you'll recall it is our Forest of the Year), as demonstrated by the number of people who have volunteered to be a part of the new friends group there. Things to see and enjoy in the RSF include: Bear Meadows (including an honest-to-goodness fen), Detweiler Run, and Big Flat Laurel Natural Areas, 100 miles of mountain biking trails, secret Juniata River fishing holes, and "the place where Brad and Ray ate lunch in 1974."

Let's wrap up April by turning our attention to the Park of the Year, Cook Forest State Park. It has the distinction of being a first in the history of our state parks and forests. What "first" is it?

Send in your answer and we'll enter your correct response into our monthly prize drawing. All correct answers each week will go into the hat and at the end of the month we'll draw one lucky winner. The more correct answers you submit in a month (up to four or the occasional five depending on the month), the more chances you'll have to win.

In closing

Happy Arbor Day!

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.

Pennsylvania Parks & Forests Foundation is a proud member of EarthShare and 1% for the Planet and is a Gold GuideStar Participant.

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