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Our Mission: Inspire Stewardship of Pennsylvania's State Parks and Forests
All the Way to the Horizon at Presque Isle State Park
Photo by Samantha Howland
Good morning, all you hep cats and kittens. We hope your week was uneventful and that you were able to get in a little outdoor time. I confess I was kind of a coward this week, foregoing my morning walk every doggone day. Both Bill and I have our bikes on trainers in the living room and we've been riding along to some virtual cycling videos on YouTube. It is great fun but frustrating that a lot of the producers of these things don't do a terribly good job identifying where they are. One in particular that I have bookmarked goes to some fabulous places out west and they'll bike up to an overlook but never quite point the camera out to the view. Oh, well, we burn a few extra calories yelling at the TV as he turns to leave.

The view of Lake Erie above is certainly worth capturing. Cold? Oh, yes!

Pam Metzger
Membership Coordinator
Pennsylvania Parks & Forests Foundation

News of Note

In today's edition of "Believe it or Not" comes word that ONCE AGAIN a cohort of 12 sponsors has introduced a bill (HB 755) in the Pennsylvania House targeting the "special funds." Including, yes, the Keystone and Environmental Stewardship Funds. Naturally, we oppose any effort to divert these funds to general expenditures and are monitoring this legislation. Visit our Take Action page of the website to keep tabs on developments as they occur. 

Of course, a key reason for our constant opposition to these types of fund raids is that Keystone/ESF are vital economic drivers. Witness this article in a recent PA Environment Digest about the new ranger office at Mount Davis (Pennsylvania's high point) in the Forbes State Forest. Local companies. Local jobs. Somerset County thanks the Keystone/ESF!

This also flies in the face of poll data released yesterday by DCNR (find out more with a click to the graphic above) proving YET AGAIN how important these places have been and continue to be to Pennsylvanians. 

The next Lunch & Learn comes to you on February 11. "Mammals of Pennsylvania" will be the subject with Mindy Marker, environmental educator at the Little Buffalo State Park complex (which includes the Ibberson and Boyd Big Tree conservation areas). Tune in the Facebook page or YouTube channel at noon on the 11th. Unfortunately, no, pandas will NOT be included in the discussion but if you want to watch this one from the Toronto Zoo play in the snow, click the photo. Come on, you know you want to. 

You will notice over the course of the rest of 2021 that PPFF will focus on the 50th anniversary (in May) of Pennsylvania's Environmental Rights Amendment. There will be all manner of ways for you to exercise your creativity in thinking about the impact of these 60 very significant words. Stay tuned here, on our social media, and through the website.

"So. Earth. Pale blue dot. We will fail you not." If you clicked on last week's "In Closing" you were treated to a replay of youth poet laureate Amanda Gorman and her stunning reading at President Biden's inauguration. Prepare to be stunned further with this video of "Earthrise" from 2018. Count the number of times I've spouted to Friend Wendy that "I don't know. I just don't 'do' poetry." Multiply that by the number of times people have had to hear "I don't know. I just do 'do' rap." Cue "Hamilton." 

Goodness, Pam. If you're not really careful you're going to have your little mind expanded! Not to the extent of tolerating free form jazz but you can't have everything.

"News of Note" concludes this week with a sad note on the passing of Patrick Solano at the age of 95. Mr. Solano was, amazingly, a counselor and confidante to NINE governors from both parties. Respected by all in ways that are now considered "old-fashioned," the environmental education center at Frances Slocum State Park bears his name. PPFF has established a memorial fund in Mr. Solano's honor, contributions to which will directly benefit environmental programming at the center. Contribute at ppff.gives/pat-solano-enviro-ed-center.

Pictures of the Week

Mr. Solano's passing sent me to the Frances Slocum State Park Facebook page in search of photos and this one by Patricia Ann struck me. Quintessential winter. 
While the focus of Boyd Big Tree Preserve Conservation Area might be "big trees," the growth on the trees is pretty amazing also, as photographed by Eli McAlhany and posted to the Moss Appreciation Society Book of Faces. 
No question that McConnells Mill is photogenic any time of year. But there is something about winter along Slippery Rock Creek that makes a special picture - and a great jigsaw puzzle perfect for National Jigsaw Puzzle Day. Which is today! Thank you, Katie Edenhofer, for this lovely view.
Although PPFF's mission is state parks and forests and the Hopewell Area Recreation Complex in Stewartstown is a local park, when you come across a photo as incredible as this one (which I caught in the PA Wildlife & Outdoors Facebook page) it has to be shared. Short-eared owl by Sean Lauer. 

Where Are We?

Click for a larger view.

Take Five for Trivia

The surprising answer to last week's question about the relative popularity of hiking in all four seasons (as espoused by the respondents to a survey by the travel website OneTravel at least) is: 36% say spring is the best for hiking; 31% winter; 20% summer, and only 13% fall! 

The other survey responses are also interesting. Check them out and see if they match your hiker profile!

For our final question this month, let's get ready for the February lunch and learn with a quick one: what is Pennsylvania's state mammal?

Submit your answer.

In Closing

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.
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Pennsylvania Parks & Forests Foundation
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