part of helping people to understand the importance of their actions
on the health of their surrounding ecosystem and the global environment
is through education. In the following examples you will see how organizations
and people within your local community are attempting to balance the
impacts of humans on the environment, while at the same time improving
these conditions and their own living conditions for future generations.
National Wildlife Refuge
Wildlife Refuge, created in 1959 with proceeds from Duck
Stamp sales, provides a nesting area for migratory waterfowl, as
well as a refuge for many different species of wildlife. The Refuge
also provides many opportunities for education and for visitors
to observe wildlife in their natural habitat. The Refuge has created
and maintained, "...over 2,500 acres of wetlands, including
beaver floodings, marshes, swamps, man-made impoundments, creeks
and wet meadows." With such a wealth of diverse opportunities
to view wildlife, the Erie National Wildlife Refuge is an important
and successful Pennsylvania landmark.
Crawford County, Erie National Wildlife Refuge is a complete facility
offering environmental education, nature hikes, and wildlife viewing.
Birds commonly seen are red tailed hawks, osprey, and bald eagles,
as well as numerous waterfowl. Wildlife includes beavers, white-tailed
deer, and many species of fish. Visitors have the opportunity to
observe wildlife along the trails or at the Observation Blind, which
overlooks one of the many ponds on the Refuge.
Refuge also has picnicking facilities and a visitors center, and
certain parts of the Refuge are open to fishing and hunting.
- For additional
information on the Refuge, Click
Creek Outdoor Learning Center
French Creek Outdoor Learning Center is a collaborative effort
formed to enhance the community's environmental education by
embracing hands-on experiential learning utilizing a diverse,
multi-disciplinary approach. The French Creek Outdoor Learning
Center's purpose is to instill a greater understanding and respect
of nature, along with an appreciation for the unique resources
and ecosystems found here and those found at other environmental
a Superfund site, a disposal area for coal ash and other toxins
during its ownership under several industries, this remediated brownfield
now houses the
French Creek Outdoor Learning Center (FCOLC). Its
goal is to educate the community on the importance of proper environmental
stewardship and respect for nature, and was created with the help
of Conneaut, Crawford Central, and PENNCREST school districts as
well as Allegheny College and the Crawford County Development Corporation.
provides education to students as well as adults by providing workshops,
interactive tours, and presentations. Working with students, Scouts,
and civic groups, over 3,000 participants attended programming last
year at FCOLC. With the rich and diverse French Creek right outside
its door, and numerous trails and facilities for education, the
French Creek Outdoor Learning Center can cater to any group and
workshops are tailor made to fit the characteristics of the group.
Geology, environmental stewardship, stream processes, and creative
writing are just some of the topics covered at the center. The Center
has also taken the responsibility of the Earthkeepers Program, a
two-day workshop for fourth graders attending participating schools.
FCOLC was recently awarded the prestigious Governors Award for Environmental
Excellence, one of only 43 other organizations in the state.
more information on the French Creek Outdoor Learning Center, or
to arrange an educational opportunity, call 814-337-7305.
to Environ Ed.
Homestead at Slippery Rock University
Homestead was built in the early 1990's and is currently
owned and operated by Slippery Rock University. The purpose of the
homestead is to practice sustainability and educate students and
the community about sustainable practices. The Homestead is the
site of current study and research for Slippery Rock University's
ALTER Program as well as Master of Science in Sustainable Systems
fascinating and educational resource, the Harmony Homestead can
be visited and toured, or you can take a virtual tour of the premises
and an learn more about the programs that take place there. For
additional information about the Harmony Homestead, Click
to Environ Ed.
Environmental Learning Center
Environmental Learning Center located near Sandy Lake
in Mercer County was established in 1974 and is currently under
the direction of Slippery Rock University. Created by the Commonwealth
of Pennsylvania, the McKeever Environmental Learning Center's purpose
is, "...to provide programs to assist citizens of all ages
in becoming better stewards of the Earth's resources."
Surrounded by 205 acres of hardwood forest, streams, and meadows,
the McKeever Center provides classrooms, a dining hall, an auditorium,
and eight rustic lodges nested in beautiful northwest Pennsylvania.
These year-round facilities are perfect for group retreats, workshops,
McKeever continues to be a valuable environmental resource to Pennsylvania
environmental education, providing programming for grades K-12 and
the general public. McKeever also boasts an impressive student teacher
program in collaboration with the Pennsylvania State System of Higher
Education and local colleges and universities. In addition, four
miles of educational trails also surround McKeever, and are open
to the public from sunrise to sunset throughout the year.
find out about public workshops, see a map of the McKeever Trail
System, or learn more about the McKeever Environmental Learning
to Environ Ed.
Woods Nature Center
Woods provides opportunities to experience, study, and enjoy nature,
hoping to instill in visitors a greater sense of environmental awareness
and to inspire environmentally responsible behaviors. The center
has monthly public programming and annual events such as the Maple
Syrup Festival in March, Autumn Fest in September and Winter Wonderland
in December. Asbury Woods has free, guided walks throughout the
summer. The center has an interpretative cottage and administrative
center as well as 50 acres of forest, trails, boardwalks, and gardens.
The cottage has hands on exhibits, interpretive displays and an
education can be defined as a life-long learning process that illustrates
the relationships between the natural and human-made world, and
that leads to responsible stewardship of the earth. At Asbury Woods
Nature Center, this is the goal through interactive learning opportunities.
Asbury Woods offers students and others from throughout the region
opportunities to learn about plants and animals, natural habitat,
life cycles, food chains, and ecosystems.
Education Organizations and Links
to Environ Ed