This time of year, many people blog about how to have a more environmentally-friendly and “green” holiday season, or why we shouldn’t focus so much on the commercial aspects of Christmas, so I won’t bother rehashing those ideas here. What I would like to do is run through a quick conservation year in review – what happened in 2011 that is worth celebrating?
- Two organizations in Philadelphia received Environmental Protection Agency “Environmental Achievement Awards” – the Upper Merion School District for reducing energy consumption by more than 30 percent and recycling 50 percent of its solid waste, and the Tookany/Tacony-Frankford Watershed Partnership for restoring more than 13,000 feet of stream, training nearly 9,000 volunteer watershed stewards, and giving more than 60 school lessons.
- Governor Corbett announced the 2011 “Environmental Excellence Award Winners”. Especially significant projects include the Schuylkill Headwaters Association implemented several acid mine drainage treatment projects to protect water resources, and the Allegheny Land Trust’s work with the Mount Washington Community Development Corps. to improve and expand the park system on Mount Washington in Pittsburgh.
- Black Rock Sanctuary in Chester County won the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources’ Green Park award for their native meadow plantings, interpretive trail, invasive species management and stormwater wetlands.
- The FrackTracker website is keeping people informed on the Marcellus shale industry in Pennsylvania. It provides a non-partisan look at where the wells are, where the violations took place, etc. It can be accessed at: www.fractracker.org.
- This fall, over 10,000 acres were added to State Game Lands in Centre and Clearfield counties, bringing the total number of Game Commission-protected acres to over 1.4 million.
- Wind energy manufacturer, Gamesa, shipped its 1,000 wind turbine nacelle from its plant in Fairless Hills in southeastern PA. That plant was sited on a former U.S. Steel brownfield.
- Three Pennsylvania colleges were awarded EPA “Green Power Leadership Awards” for their use of clean, renewable energy sources. These colleges are Franklin and Marshall, Mercyhurst and Allegheny College.
- Hundreds of nonprofits and municipalities throughout the state have come together to support the renewed funding of Growing Greener. You can see a list at http://renewgrowinggreener.org/supporting-organizations.
There’s been a lot more to cheer about certainly, but the work is never done. Let’s keep up the good work in 2012!