Pennsylvania State Parks

January 2023 E-Blast

Happy New Year from PA State Parks!

We are so glad to be a part of your Environmental Education work in the New Year! Here's to a year full of meaningful experiences and new endeavors. We hope that PA State Parks can help you reach and sustain those new goals in 2023! 🎉

E-Blast Contents:

  • Section 1: Teaching Ideas, Activities, & Lessons for Winter!
  • Section 2: Winter In-Person & Virtual Educator Professional Development Workshops
  • Section 3: Conferences for Educators
  • Section 4: Explore the Outdoors!
  • Section 5: Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion (DEI)
  • Capstone: PA State Park Updates
Snow scene paint PPFF

Take a moment to refresh in the New Year...

Try out the new 🎨 Paint (or color)-by-Number creation of Hills Creek State Park from artist Melodie Swartz-Higgins and the PA Parks & Forestry Foundation (PPFF). Get the free PDF. Check out all of the Paint-by-Number options from PPFF.

Section 1:

Teaching Ideas, Activities, & Lessons for Winter

Snowmen Craft
  • Make Snow People ⛄ & other creations out of Pebbles! - from Little Pine Learners 

  • Winter Phenology - Phenology is nature's calendar. Keep track of natural phenomena & seasonal changes with this Pennsylvania Winter Phenology Journal. Use this collection of notes to deepen your student's connection to the woods & wildlife around them. - from Penn State Extension

  • Want to sleep all winter?! Learn more about Hibernation & PA Wildlife with the "Winter Is Coming" section of the PA Game Commission's (PGC) Wildlife-on-WiFi hub. Includes free videos, lessons, & more!

  • The Climate Game - Can You Reach Net Zero by 2050? Play this free, web-based game to see if you can save the planet from the worst effects of climate change. "You are appointed Global Climate Minister, how will YOU work to mitigate the worst effects & try to get warming 🌎 <1.5 degrees C?" This is one of the best, new Climate Change education tools!
  • Check out the new, free "Nature Adventure Activity Cards!" There are six packs of cards each for ages 2-6 & 7-11 years old. Each pack has themed activities, incorporating elements of play, environmental stewardship, storytelling, & more. Themes include nature crafts, clouds 🌥 , frogs🐸, nocturnal urban animals, & more. - from the Children & Nature Network

Section 2:

WINTER In-Person/Virtual Educator Professional

Development Workshops

Go to the DCNR Calendar for ALL Upcoming Educator Workshops

COVID safety protocols will be followed for all in-person workshops.

January 2023 Educator Workshops

GO Teach: Snowshoeing Educator Workshop

Saturday, January 21, 2023, 9:00 am - 3:00pm

In-person at Raccoon Creek State Park, 3000 State Route 18, Hookstown, PA 15050

Act 48: 5.5 hrs.

Fee: $20 pre-registration is required

Winter is a great time to get outdoors and explore the natural world on snowshoes. Learn how to motivate your students to get active during the winter through an interdisciplinary set of lessons created by the PA Bureau of State Parks. Lessons focus on health, fitness and preparedness; snow, weather, climate and history. The workshop covers 5.5 hours of ACT 48 addressing Physical Education & Health, History, and Science & Technology Standards. Ideal for PE teachers, the workshop is also open to anyone teaching or interested in outdoor education. To register, contact Patrick Adams at (724) 899-3611 or [email protected]

Virtual Getting Little Feet WET with a MWEE Flair Educator Workshop

Thursday, January 26, 2023, 5:30 pm - 7:30 pm on Zoom

Act 48: 2 hrs.

Fee: FREE! Pre-registration required

Virtually offered by Carissa Longo, PA State Parks Project WET Coordinator, Megan Fedor, Envi. Education Specialist - Nescopeck State Park, and Dr. Nanette Marcum-Dietrich -Millersville University

Join certified facilitators via Zoom to learn all about and experience Project WET's early childhood curriculum - Getting Little Feet WET (GLFW)! GLFW is a hands-on, standards-based early childhood activity guide that is all about WATER. It features 10 field-tested, interactive activities that utilize art, reading, music, math, and outdoor learning to teach children ages 3-6 about water. Dr. Nanette Marcum-Dietrich of Millersville University will also introduce the MWEE Framework.

This virtual workshop will be interactive with virtual activities. It is open to classroom teachers, pre-school teachers, non-formal educators, pre-service teachers (college students), homeschool parents, and more.

To be shipped their free GLFW Activity guide, attendees must register by January 11. Those that miss the 1/11/2023 registration deadline will not be guaranteed to receive workshop materials before the training. Pre-registration is required. Register NOW! Questions? Contact Carissa Longo, EE Program Coordinator at [email protected] or 717-772-1807.

Virtual Growing Up Wild Educator Workshop

Saturday, January 28, 2023 at 9:00am to 12:00pm

Virtually offered by Presque Isle State Park, 301 Peninsula Drive, Suite 1, Erie, PA 16505

Act 48: 3 hrs.

Fee: FREE! pre-registration is required

Educators will receive training on the curriculum Growing Up Wild: Exploring Nature With Young Children Ages 3-7. This is a free virtual professional development opportunity for formal and non-formal educators of students in preschool to 3rd grade. Pre-registered attendees will be shipped their own copy of the Growing Up Wild: Exploring Nature With Young Children book. Register NOW. Questions? Contact Ray Bierbower, EES at [email protected] or call 814-833-0793.

February 2023 Educator Workshops
Project WILD

Project WILD🦊Educator Workshop

Thursday, February 9, 8:30 am - 2:30 pm

In-Person at Kinzua Bridge State Park, 296 Viaduct Road, Kane, PA 16735

Act 48: 6 hrs.

Fee: $20.00 payable in advance; pre-registration is required

Project WILD is a national, award-winning, wildlife focused, K-12 conservation education curriculum! This hands-on workshop is open to both formal & non-formal educators. The updated Project WILD K-12 Curriculum & Activity Guide will be provided for each attendee! In addition to the lessons, the guide includes STEM extensions, background information, and career connections! This workshop will focus on elementary & middle school activities. Register by contacting Holly Dzemyan, EES at the park office at (814) 778-5467 or at [email protected] . Registration deadline is 2/6/2023.

Growing Up WILD🐻Educator Workshop 

Saturday, February 25, 8:30 am - 12:00 pm

In-Person at Moraine State Park, State Park Region 2 Conference Room, 195 Park Road, Prospect PA 16052

Act 48: 3.5 Hours

Cost: $20.00 Pre-registration is required.

Growing Up WILD: Exploring Nature with Young Children (GUW) is an early childhood education activity guide that builds on children’s sense of wonder about nature and invites them to explore wildlife and the world around them. Workshop participants will receive a copy of the newly revised guide. GUW is designed for early childhood educators of children ages 3-7 and features 27 field-tested, hands-on, nature-based activities in a new edition, full-color, 8 1/2” x 11” activity guide. Each topic includes ideas for crafts, art projects, music, reading, and math connections. GUW is correlated to the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) Standards & the Head Start Domains. Pre-registration is required, email [email protected] or call the Park Office at (724) 368-8811 to register. It is open to all Educators.

GO Teach: Snowshoe Educator Workshop

Saturday, February 25, 9:00 am - 4:00 pm

In-Person at Greenwood Furnace State Park, 15795 Greenwood Road, Huntingdon, PA 16652

Act 48: 6 hrs.

Fee: $20.00 Pre-registration is required. Includes educational guide, access to loaner equipment & refreshments

Learn how to enable your students to discover Penn's Woods through an interdisciplinary set of lessons created by the PA Bureau of State Parks. Lessons focus on health, fitness, and trip planning; weather and climate change; as well as history. The lessons address several Physical Education & Health standards as well as standards for Geography, Science & Technology, Environment & Ecology, and History. The course will include an afternoon snowshoe around Greenwood Furnace. All equipment will be provided. Open to all formal & non-formal educators. Registration Deadline: 2/17/2023. For more information or to Register/Pay, contact the park office at 814-667-1800.

Getting Little Feet Wet💦Educator Workshop

Saturday, February 25, 10:00 am - 12:00 pm

In-Person at Lackawanna State Park, 1839 Abington Rd., North Abington Township, PA 18414

Act 48: 2 hrs.

Fee: $10.00 payable in advance; pre-registration is required.

With a focus on all-things water, this award-winning, nationally recognized curriculum gives you hands-on, STEM-focused activities to use with your Pre-K - 2nd grade students. This workshop is open to all formal & non-formal educators including pre-service teachers, homeschool parents, and scout leaders. All participants will receive the Getting Little Feet Wet Activity Guide. Registration for this workshop is limited & is required by Saturday, February 17, 2022. Register NOW. Questions? Contact Tony DeSantis, EES, at [email protected] or 570-945-7110.

Growing Up WILD Educator Workshop

Saturday, February 25, 10:00 am - 2:00 pm

In-Person at Norristown Farm Park, 2500 Upper Farm Road East Norriton Pa 19403 

Fee: $10.00 payable day of in cash or check; pre-registration is required 

Act 48: 3.5 hrs. 

Growing Up WILD: Exploring Nature with Young Children is an early childhood activity guide (ages 2-7) that builds on children’s sense of wonder about nature🐻and invites them to explore wildlife and the world around them. Through a wide range of multi-modal activities and experiences, it provides a foundation for developing positive impressions about nature while also building lifelong social & cognitive skills. In this hands-on workshop, participants will be introduced to the curriculum, guided in its use, and shown the resources available through Growing Up WILD, Bureau of State Parks, and Montgomery County to help them implement it with their students. Register NOW! Questions? Contact Rebecca Blackletter, Envi. Educator at [email protected] or 610-270-0215 ext. 6073. Registration deadline 2/11/23.

March 2023 Educator Workshops

Getting Little Feet Wet💦Early Childhood Educator Workshop

Saturday, March 4, 9:00 am – 12:00 pm

Offered by Presque Isle State Park, 301 Peninsula Drive, Erie, PA 16505

Workshop will be held in-person at the Erie Zoo, 423 West 38th Street, Erie, PA 16508

Act 48: 3 hrs.

Fee: $20 payable in advance; call 814-833-7424 to pre-pay via credit card or visit the Tom Ridge Environmental Center Tues-Friday 8 am-4 pm to pre-pay in person. Pre-registration & pre-payment are required.

Presque Isle State Park & the Erie Zoo are partnering to facilitate a workshop for early childhood educators. Become certified in the nationally tested, early childhood curriculum Getting Little Feet Wet from Project WET. With a focus on all things water, this curriculum will bring new activities, songs, and crafts to your classroom. Included is a tour behind the scenes of the Erie Zoo to discover how water is used at their facility. Deadline to register is February 20, 2023. Register NOW! Questions? Contact Stacey Marendt, EES, at [email protected] or 814-833-7424.

Flying🦅WILD Educator Workshop with a MWEE💦Flair

Saturday, March 18, 9:00 am - 2:00 pm

In-Person at Millersville University, Watershed Education & Training Institute (WETi) at Creek Lodge, 198 Creek Dr., Millersville, PA 17551

Act 48: 4.5 hrs.

Fee: FREE! (grant funded)

Join PA State Parks at Millersville University for a Flying WILD workshop with a Meaningful Watershed Educational Experience (MWEE) flair! Flying Wild is an education guide focused specifically on birds, providing participants with innovative and ready-to-use activities for the classroom and outdoors. The curriculum works to develop awareness concerning bird biology, conservation, & natural history. Dr. Nanette Marcum-Dietrich of Millersville University will also introduce the MWEE Framework in early childhood education. All attendees will receive the Flying WILD: An Educator's Guide to Celebrating Birds curriculum. Workshop is focused for upper elementary & middle school teachers. Pre-registration is required & space is limited. Register NOW. Email [email protected] with any questions.

Section 3:

Conferences for Educators

DIVE DEEPER VII - Biennial Youth Water 💦 Educators Summit

Thursday, September 28, 2023 - Harrisburg, PA

Be a Session Presenter at the Mid-Atlantic Region's

Award-Winning Water Education Summit - Dive Deeper!

Dive Deeper 💦 is a one-day professional development conference with hands-on workshops, inspiring guest speakers, diverse exhibitors, networking lunch, and more. The 2023 event will also feature a new pre-conference reception on Wednesday evening.

1. This conference's focus is to strengthen educators' capacity to teach youth (and adults) about water, water ecosystems, aquatic life, water use, & related topics.

2. Dive Deeper is attended by both formal & informal educators, academic researchers, water-related non-profit organizations, companies focusing on water, and government agencies.

3. Concurrent session presentations will be ~45 minutes long. A limited number of session spaces will be awarded.


Submit Your Dive Deeper Summit Session Proposal NOW

Questions? Contact Jennifer Fetter at [email protected] or (717) 921-8803.

2023 Pennsylvania Association for Environmental Educators (PAEE) Annual Conference ~ Old Forests, New Lessons:

Growing as Educators

  • March 13 -14, 2023
  • Act 48 hours provided!
  • In-Person at Camp Hebron, Halifax, PA
  • Register NOW (early bird discount deadline is 1/21/2023; overnight & commuter rates available)

PAEE Conference Scholarships - Application Deadline: January 20, 2023!

  1. For PA K-12 Classroom Teachers or School Administrators - In partnership with PAEE, Stroud Water Research Center is pleased to announce multiple PA K-12 teachers &/or school administrators stipends are available to attend the 2023 Conference. Stipends are available as part of the professional development& outreach initiatives of the NOAA funded (Grant #NA17NMF4570274) PA Environmental Literacy Task Force & Meaningful Watershed Educational Experiences (MWEE) Programming Capacity Building project.
  2. For Environmental Educators (only 2 Scholarships available for EE).

Questions? Contact PAEE Administrative Coordinator Stacey Widenhofer at [email protected].

Section 4:

Explore the Outdoors!

Forest 🏞 Bathing for Wellness

The Japanese healing art of Shinrin-yoku "Forest Bathing" has been a part of preventive health care since its development during the 1980s.  

Studies have shown that there are significant health benefits to be derived from engaging all 5 senses in a gentle, contemplative walk through a forest 🌲ecosystem. Learn more about "Forest Bathing" - from the PA Parks & Forest Foundation.

E-Bikes🚲Allowed in Designated Areas of

Pennsylvania State Parks and Forests

E-bikes🚲offer opportunities for state park & forest visitors to expand their outdoor recreational access. An e-bike🚲is a bicycle equipped with an electric motor that assists the rider when they are pedaling.

Review the DCNR E-Bike Fact Sheet, the Policy, the FAQ, & more.

E-bikes are allowed on Department of Conservation & Natural Resources (DCNR) trails already open to traditional bicycle usage as long as users follow guidelines consistent with the Pennsylvania Vehicle Code that e-bikes:

Plan Your Winter Adventures Using the Pennsylvania State Parks Winter Report ❄!

The Winter Report allows winter outdoor recreation enthusiasts to monitor snow and ice conditions at state parks. It is updated weekly (at a minimum) during the winter season and lists the snow & ice thickness, as well as what activities are available at parks. The report is searchable by park & by winter outdoor recreation activity. ⛷ ⛸

FREE Virtual Workshop "Introduction to Leave No Trace Skills & Ethics" 🏕

Join one of these FREE, interactive virtual Leave No Trace (LNT) workshops. Learn LNT techniques to share with your students. Don't miss out on this opportunity to make a positive impact.

Choose one of these dates (all 3 workshops are the same) and register:

  • Thursday, January 19, 2023 - 11:00 am - 12:00 pm EST
  • Wednesday, February 1, 2023 - 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm EST
  • Wednesday, February 7, 2023 - 8:00 pm - 9:00 pm EST

Section 5:

Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion

- Learn more about DCNR's DEI efforts-

Martin Luther King Day of Service January 16, 2023

Interested in participating in one of the many MLK Days of Service opportunities scheduled across the state?

Find more information listed below to get you started:

PA State Parks are YOURS!

Book your virtual, in-person programs, and field experiences with PA State Park Educators now! Find a PA State Park. Need help connecting to a PA State Park with an Educator on staff? Reach out to Carissa Longo a[email protected].

DCNR facilities and Programs are OPEN to ALL with social distancing encouraged:

  • Many Environmental Education programs require pre-registration. Explore the DCNR events calendar for details and to register.
  • Plan your outing before you leave. Learn about facilities, download on your phone or print a park map, and review regulations here: Find park pages here
  • Take care of & respect the resource. Park, hike, hunt, & more only in designated areas.
  • Check the weather before you depart, wear layers & proper footwear, and bring water. Wear orange if hiking in designated hunting areas.
  • Please do not litter 🚮.
  • Alcohol is not allowed in PA State Parks.
  • Make a reservation at a PA State Park Campground, Camping Cottage, Cabin, or Yurt. Reservations can be made up to 11 months in advance.


You can help keep state parks safe for all by following these practices:

  • Use the restroom before you leave your house 🏡
  • Bring a bag and either carry out your trash or dispose of it properly
  • Stay on marked trails
  • Clean up after pets 🐕

  • Continue to practice social distancing (stay >6' apart)
  • Take hand sanitizer with you and use it regularly
  •  Avoid touching your face, eyes, and nose
  • If you are sick or have been exposed to someone who is sick, stay home

Happy New Year!! ❇

Carissa Longo, Environmental Education Program Coordinator


Christine Ticehurst, Recreation and Interpretation Coordinator

Visit the DCNR Events Calendar- Teacher Workshops to find additional training opportunities! Click the arrows to see upcoming months.

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