On Centre: Penns Valley | Grant will help Penns Valley conservation efforts

April 27, 2014 

Luck was in the hands of the Penns Valley Conservation Association again last week; the organization, based out of the Old Gregg School in Spring Mills, was the recipient of a $3,000 grant.

The grant is funded by the commonwealth to support group education projects in the Penns Creek watershed.

State Rep. Mike Hanna, D-Lock Haven, said the grant was made possible through the Environmental Education Act of 1993, “which reserves for environmental education 5 percent of the pollution fines and penalties collected annually by the state Department of Environmental Protection.”

“It’s fitting that the grant was announced on Earth Day, because the association has been promoting environmental stewardship with zeal for 20 years,” Hanna said in a statement. “I congratulate the group for its efforts and for securing the funding.”

Earth Day is celebrated on April 22.

Earlier this year, the PVCA was awarded a $250,000 grant through the state Department of Community and Economic Development, and last year partnered with the Penns Valley Area School District for environmental education programs with local youth.

Executive Director Andrea Ferich said that money will go toward the Upper Penns Creek watershed restoration and protection project while implementing agricultural management best practices that would focus on profitability and water quality on four local farms and create a team of stream-monitoring specialists.

“I was pleased to support the initiative and even more so to see it still providing local benefits,” Hanna said about the group’s latest grant. “Conserving water, farmlands, forests and our rural heritage has been a blessing shared by all.”

The volunteer-driven organization aims to implement community-based projects within the watershed, where improvement is needed, and is focused on maintaining water quality, the area’s rural heritage and stable environmental planning, Ferich said.

Beginning this spring, Ferich said, the PVCA will be working to certify “citizen scientists” in stream restoration monitoring. A report from the PVCA said these people would be paid to monitor and protect the waters of the Upper Penns Creek watershed and to educate community members on the actions needed to identify the health of the stream, and identify animal and plant life that call these waters home.

Britney Milazzo writes about news from the Penns and Brush Valley regions. She can be reached at 231-4648. Follow her on Twitter @M11azzo.

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