2013-09-05 / Front Page

Environmental Group To Hold Workshops

Events to be held at Fulton County Library
By Chanin Rotz-Mountz

Laura Jackson, a retired school teacher and forest steward pictured above, along with her husband, Mike, will be hosting a special program on backyard conservation at the Fulton County Library on September 18. 
Photo courtesy of Jacksons Journeys Photography Laura Jackson, a retired school teacher and forest steward pictured above, along with her husband, Mike, will be hosting a special program on backyard conservation at the Fulton County Library on September 18. Photo courtesy of Jacksons Journeys Photography NEWS EDITOR

What started out several months ago as an idea of Big Cove Tannery resident Dan Adams and several other interested citizens to promote and encourage interest in global and local environmental issues has turned into an opportunity for area residents to make a difference in the lives of others.

The newly formed Fulton County Environmental Action Group (EAG) has taken root in Fulton County with hopes of not only educating the public but forming partnerships to promote other related activities and events here.

EAG has enlisted the help of the Fulton County Library and the Fulton County Conservation District in its endeavors, and the group announced last week a series of free public workshops that will begin later this month.

The workshops are funded through an environmental minigrant secured through the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), according to Conservation District watershed specialist Scott Alexander. Since receiving notice earlier this spring that its grant paperwork had been approved, EAG has organized a total of four workshops for 2013.

“Raising local awareness and appreciation of the natural environment in Fulton County is a priority for the Conservation District, and we are very pleased to see a local group form that wishes to engage local citizens in interesting programs and discussions,” said Alexander. “With a heritage of agriculture, forestry and outdoor recreation; combined with an appreciation and need for healthy soil, clean water and air Fulton County seems like a very natural place to engage citizens with these topics.”

The first of the environmentally themed workshops held at the library in McConnellsburg will get under way at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, September 18. “Backyard Conservation: How To Make Your Landscape Grow in Harmony with Nature” is being overseen by Everett, Pa., residents and retired school teachers Mike and Laura Jackson. In addition to being PA forest stewards, the Jacksons are also watershed monitors and organizers of Save Our Allegheny Ridge.

Reading encouraged as part of this workshop is “Bringing Home Nature,” which is penned by Doug Tallamy and available on loan through the Fulton County Library. All attendees are tentatively slated to receive a native plant or seeds.

John Hanger, former DEP secretary, is currently one of several notable speakers on board to discuss environmental issues with EAG and the public. Hanger will be at the library on Wednesday, October 2, at 6 p.m. for an open discussion with primary focus on climate issues.

Several weeks later, Alexander along with Buchanan State Forest forester Dave Scamardella, will be hosting a talk on October 16, at 7 p.m. “The World Outdoors” program will revolve around the “natural wonders that make our region unique” as well as offer tips on places to visit and activities to undertake.

The final workshop for 2013 on “Faith and the Environment” will include a panel discussion moderated by Pastor Valeria Schmidt of the United Church of Christ; Dr. David True, associate professor of Religion and Philosophy at Wilson College, where he also serves as Religion Department chair; as well as representatives from other faith organizations. Faith and the Environment is scheduled for November 20 at 7 p.m.

Registration at these events is not required but appreciated. Interested residents can contact the Conservation District at 717-485- 3457, Ext. 116, or e-mail fccd@ pa.net.

In addition to funding this initial programming series, the environmental mini-grant is also being used to enhance a an “environmental information center” section of the library. This specific area, library Executive Director Jamie Brambley stated, will include a variety of resources, including books, periodicals and DVDs. Suggestions for information to be on display in the infor- mation center are provided by EAG, said Brambley, who is also brushing up on popular environmental books and best sellers to help supplement available materials.

EAG member Rachel Leese added that additional materials, newsworthy articles and links will hopefully be an integral or key part of the organization’s Facebook page, which is still under construction. The social networking site will also serve as a means of informing citizens about activities in the area as well as local events and meetings.

Already receiving a positive response from this first series of programming, work has already begun for 2014. EAG is looking into other topics of conversation such as energy efficiency and conservation, forest ecology, farming and agriculture, and climate change.

Information on EAG, how to become a member or receive information on future events can be obtained by contacting Adams via e-mail at daniel.adams007@yahoo.com.

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