The overall goal of Pennsylvania’s Conservation Heritage Project is to build awareness of our commonwealth’s rich conservation heritage, to educate the next generation about the opportunities to make a difference, and most importantly to help citizens find inspiration in the accomplishments of past conservation leaders, to inspire them to take action at every level and be the leaders of environmental stewardship today.

Steps completed to date:

Oral Interviews: Complete oral histories with individuals who were or are involved in conservation heritage from the mid-20th century to the present (especially those who played key roles in developing and implementing public policy). Interviews were completed on the following individuals:

  • John Arway – Executive Director, Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission.
  • Raymond Bednarchik – Captain and Southeast Regional Manager, Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission.
  • Linda McKenna Boxx, Secretary, Allegheny Trail Alliance.
  • Rick Carlson, former Policy Director, DER and DCNR
  • Phillip Coleman, former Chair, Sierra Club Pennsylvania Chapter; former Executive Director, Center for Coalfield Justice.
  • Carol Collier, Senior Advisor for Watershed Management and Policy, Academy of Natural  Sciences.
  • Michael DiBerardinis, former Secretary of DCNR
  • Pete Duncan, former Secretary of DER and Executive Director of the PA Game Commission
  • Art Davis, former Secretary of DER
  • Cindy Adams Dunn – CEO of Penn Future (at the time of the interview) and current Secretary of Conservation and Natural Resources in the Wolf Administration.
  • William Forrey, former Director of State Parks at DER
  • Caren Glotfelty, former Directory of Environmental Programs, Heinz Endowments.
  • Walter Goldburg, Professor Emeritus in Physics, University of Pittsburgh, founding director and former President of Group Against Smog & Pollution (GASP)
  • Sam Hayes, Emeritus Professor of History, University of Pittsburgh
  • Brian J. Hill, Senior Program Officer, R. K. Mellon Foundation; former President & CEO, Pennsylvania Environmental Council.
  • Matthew Hough – Executive Director, Pennsylvania Game Commission.
  • Wayne Kober, President, Wayne W. Kober, Inc. and retired director of the Bureau of Environmental Quality, PENNDOT.
  • Franklin Kury – former Pennsylvania State Senator, lobbyist and author.
  • Susan P. LeGros, President & Executive Director, Center for Sustainable Shale Development.
  • Andrew McIlwaine, former President & CEO, Pennsylvania Environmental Council; original Director of Environmental Programs, Heinz Endowments.
  • Marci Mowery – Executive Director, Pennsylvania Parks and Forests Foundation.
  • John Oliver, former Secretary of DCNR
  • Richard H. “Dick” Pratt, founding member and former Chair, Allegheny Group, Sierra Club Pennsylvania Chapter.
  • John Quigley, former Secretary of Conservation and Natural Resources in the Rendell administration and current acting Secretary of Environmental Protection in the Wolf Administration.      
  • Larry Schweiger, Executive Director, National Wildlife Federation
  • James Seif, former Secretary of DEP
  • Joel Tarr, Emeritus Professor of History, University of Pittsburgh
  • Davitt Woodwell, President & CEO, Pennsylvania Environmental Council.
  • Peter Wray, former Chair, Allegheny Group, Sierra Club Pennsylvania Chapter.

Historical Framework: Developed a historical framework that places the commonwealth’s remarkable conservation heritage in the context of environmental exploitation and change. This research guides development of the educational modules and also helps frame and focus the media products such as the documentary on the state’s conservation heritage.

Production of Video Vignettes and Documentary: Three short (30-minute) documentaries have been completed, with three set to release in 2016. These documentaries are being shown across the state through public television and special programs.

Development of Educational Materials: Educational materials to accompany the documentaries are under development. As part of the educational materials, conservation related lead stories were prepared for the Pennsylvania Parks and Forests Foundation newsletter, which were then turned into fact sheets bearing the Conservation Heritage Project logo. Three lead stories were Conservation and Health, the Heritage of Conservation Activism, History of Parks and Forests, and the History of Recreation. All of these article are available for reproduction or insert into newsletters/magazines.

Short stories of People, Places and Events continue to be developed for both the Conservation Heritage website and for popular publication. These stories are available for others to use in their programming and publications.

Interactive Exhibits at the Pennsylvania State Museum: Approximately one-third of the State Museum’s exhibition floor space is devoted to scientific collections and interpretation–over 30,000 square feet. Permanent exhibits covering Pennsylvania’s geology and prehistory, as well as the state’s ecology, flora, and fauna have been popular attractions since the present museum building opened in the mid-1960s.

The State Museum has created a new gallery space, is restoring mammal hall, and has created a natural history speaker series.