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Education and Events

Post your EAC's educational opportunities and events.  Please be sure to include information on who to contact with questions, and registration if applicable.

Pennsylvania Environmental Literacy Network Launches Regional Educator Hubs for STEELS Preparation

Shared by Stroud Water Research Center, May 30

Environmental educators have a new way to access professional development and resources to prepare them for the new Science, Technology and Engineering, Environmental Literacy, and Sustainability (STEELS) Standards. The Pennsylvania Environmental Literacy (PA ELIT) Network has launched six regional hubs, marking a significant milestone as Pennsylvania public schools prepare to transition to the new standards by the 2025–2026 school year.

The PA ELIT Network consists of representatives from government agencies, nonprofits like Stroud Water Research Center, and schools working together to increase environmental literacy, a key component of the new standards.

As the saying goes, it takes a village. By bringing together partners from various areas of environmental education, we were able to build these regional hubs that will be a vital resource for educators. READ MORE.

PennState Extension: Community Science Tool to Track Stream Health

July 30, Noon | Virtual | FREE, registration Required

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Is your stream healthy? Would you like to explore it more closely or monitor changes over time? Have you recently taken steps to improve your stream and now want to measure the results? The First Investigation of Stream Health (FISH) tool is a fun and easy way for individuals, families, volunteer groups, youth, and adults to explore a stream and share their findings with the scientific community. Join us for an introduction to the new and improved mobile app, online reporting tool, and paper data sheets.

Attend our free one-hour webinar to get insights from Penn State Extension experts on current water resource projects, ask questions about the updated FISH tool, and share ideas with professionals across Pennsylvania.

PRPS Webinar: Accessibility for Parks & Programs

Thursday, July 18 | Virtual | $20 members / $25 non-members

Join Fatima Nabavian and Ashley Patete, professional accessibility coordinators and consultants from the Lehigh Valley Center for Independent Living (LCVIL), as they discuss creating inclusive spaces for people of all abilities to play, learn, and connect. The webinar will review the Americans with Disabilities Act and how it can impact your planning, management, and refit your spaces and programs. Attendees will also learn how to assess accessibility and what a comprehensive site/program survey should include.

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Fatima and Ashley will share their extensive experience and knowledge, providing insights and tips on delivering excellent customer service for all. The webinar will focus on practical strategies and insights to improve understanding of accessibility and ensure inclusion in parks and programs.

Penn State Extension: Solar Law Symposium

August 20, Noon - 4:30PM | Virtual Live Webinar | $119 (with CLE credit) / $69 (no CLE credit)

Calling all attorneys and energy professionals! Get ready for the fourth annual Penn State Solar Law Symposium, held virtually. Co-sponsored by Penn State Extension, Penn State’s Center for Energy Law and Policy, and the Penn State Center for Agricultural and Shale Law, this event is tailored for those with beginning and intermediate levels of solar law knowledge. Join us for an insightful exploration of gridscale solar development, advancements in merchant-generator photovoltaic electricity production, and groundbreaking Penn State research on the rural impact of solar development. Plus, earn four hours of substantive Pennsylvania Continuing Legal Education (CLE) credits. Don’t miss out—reserve your spot today!

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Penn State Extension: County Planning Districts - An Innovative Approach to Municipal and County Collaboration in Community

Wednesday, October 16, Noon | Virtual | $15 | REGISTER

Westmoreland County employed the Planning Districts approach to advance the County Comprehensive Plan’s "Reimagining Our Westmoreland." This regional planning and local action strategy acknowledges existing geographic, economic, cultural, educational, and transportation groupings. By leveraging these relationships, the county aims to address shared challenges and tackle issues arising from an aging and declining population at the local level.

The county’s comprehensive plan outlines seven districts. The idea is to look beyond municipal boundaries to communicate, collaborate, and work together cooperatively. By doing so, neighboring municipalities can better support and empower each other to accomplish their goals.

Central to the Planning Districts approach is the notion that communities benefit more when they actively participate in planning for their future. While the county cannot drive local priorities, we do have the technical expertise and resources to facilitate a process that helps communities determine their own priorities.

The Planning Districts approach recognizes three essential elements: 

  1. County government and regional partners are best suited to deliver planning and technical assistance.
  2. Local government is best suited to understand local needs/wants and to carry out recommendations in the plan.
  3. Collaboration between the two is the formula for implementation.

The Lancaster County comprehensive plan, Places 2040, was designed to serve as a guide for maintaining quality of life rather than an encyclopedia. A partnership between the public, private, and nonprofit sectors has been crucial in developing and implementing this plan. Instead of limiting the conversation to county and local governments, the Lancaster County Planning Department has collaborated closely with "Partners for Place"—local organizations involved in land use.

During this session, Mr. Van Blarcom will highlight how these partnerships support an implementation strategy that is both issue-oriented and geographically focused. In the five years since the plan’s adoption, the Lancaster County Planning Department has prepared several multi-municipal comprehensive plans based on the Places2040 model. They have used GIS to identify areas where policy changes would have the most significant impact and applied this analysis to recommend potential adjustments to growth area boundaries.

Speakers

Victoria Baur, Deputy Director, Westmoreland County Planning & Development
Jason Rigone, Executive Director, Westmoreland County Planning & Development
Kip Van Blarcom, Director, Implementation & Outreach, Lancaster County Planning Department

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Penn State Extension: Local Community Implementation of Active Transportation Plans

Wednesday, November 20, Noon | Virtual | $15 | REGISTER

PA Walk Works, an initiative between the PA Department of Health and the PA Downtown Center, has been providing funding to support the development and adoption of active transportation plans or related policies in local communities. This webinar will share the experiences of three communities that have completed and implemented Active Transportation Plans.

During the research and community involvement phases of creating Huntingdon County's Active Transportation Plan, several key needs were identified for bicycle, pedestrian, wheelchair, and paddle sports transportation. One eye-opening statistic revealed that 25% of Huntingdon County residents buy groceries at highway-oriented dollar stores or convenience stores in or near their neighborhoods. This, combined with the high number of households with access to one or fewer motor vehicles, led to the planning concept of fostering "Lifeways." This webinar will focus on defining Lifeways, how planners can identify needs for Lifeway corridors in their communities and implement land-use strategies to bring them to fruition.

Quarryville Borough sought to expand their planning capabilities, initially achieving this by adopting an “Official Map” in February 2021 with assistance from the Lancaster County Planning Department (LCPD). Subsequently, in September 2022, the Borough adopted the South Region (Lancaster County) Comprehensive Plan. Once again partnering with the LCPD, Quarryville Borough explored grant funding from the PA Downtown Center for an Active Transportation Plan (ATP).

The Quarryville Borough ATP plan was developed with the assistance of stakeholders who collaborated to create a plan adopted in September 2022. The Borough is nearing final design completion of the Enola Low Grade Rail Trail, which will connect the downtown area, with the trail expected to be finished by 2024. Currently, the trail is elevated at road crossings, not at street level. Additional projects will be discussed during the webinar.

The Verona Borough Active Transportation Plan, "Verona on the Move," focuses on enhancing the community for pedestrians and cyclists. The plan identifies priority connections and strategies to encourage more residents to walk and bike. Adopted by Verona Borough in September 2022, the plan aims to create a more walkable and bike-friendly environment.

Speakers

Trish Hredzak Showalter, Representative, Verona Borough Council
Laurie Nearhood, Executive Director, Huntingdon County Planning & Development
Scott Peiffer, Borough Manager, Quarryville Borough
Matt Price, Executive Director, Huntingdon County Visitors Bureau

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Log Landings for Bees: Enriching Pollinator Habitat in Forests

Join Penn State Extension for an informative webinar on enhancing pollinator habitats through the USDA Forest Service's Pollinator Habitat in Log Landings (PHiLL) project. Learn how bees, wasps, butterflies, and other vital pollinators benefit from rehabilitated log landings, which are typically slow to rejuvenate due to compacted soil. Discover the innovative techniques used in the PHiLL project, including soil improvement with biochar and seeding with diverse pollinator mixes. Gain insights into promoting native bee populations and enhancing ecosystems. This session is perfect for anyone interested in supporting pollinators and improving forest health. MORE INFORMATION and REGISTER.

Penn State Extension Seeks Focus Group Members: Lyme Disease and Vaccine

Researchers at Penn State Extension and the Penn State Department of Communication Arts and Sciences are hosting focus groups about ticks, Lyme disease, and a Lyme disease vaccine, and want to hear from you! The information learned in these focus groups will be used to guide communications about Lyme disease prevention and a Lyme disease vaccine. LEARN MORE.

As part of this study, participants will be asked to participate in a 1-hour online focus group via Zoom with 6-8 participants. Focus groups will be recorded for transcription. This study has been approved through the Penn State Institutional Review Board (IRB).

If you would like to participate in this study, please fill out the sign-up form. A research team member will contact you shortly to schedule the focus groups. If you have any questions or concerns about this study, please reach out to Emily Struckhoff at [email protected] or (814) 863-4741.