Environment

New from BestColleges! According to National Geographic, species are alarmingly going extinct 1,000 times faster than previously recorded due to humans. With such a detrimental situation upon us, we must encourage individuals to pursue careers in wildlife biology in order to try to reduce the number of species that are quickly disappearing from our planet.

Our team at BestColleges.com wants to equip individuals who are set on pursuing a career in wildlife with the tools to help them succeed and create a career that will be life-long and fulfilling. We curated a Biology Career Series dedicated to both students and professionals that delves into programs, curriculum, and career outlook. Take a look below.

Biology Career Series; Become a Wildlife Biologist: https://www.bestcolleges.com/blog/how-to-become-a-wildlife-biologist/ Program Guide: https://www.bestcolleges.com/features/biology-degree-programs/ ; Earning a Bachelor’s Degree: https://www.bestcolleges.com/features/top-online-biology-programs/

Michelle Clayton, Outreach Coordinator, BestColleges
901 5th Avenue, Suite 3220 Seattle, WA 98164 Please call (281) 846-3072 or send an email to contact@bestcolleges.com.

League Principles guide our local league in all that we do. Over the years, the local leagues in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania have reached consensus on the state League’s positions on many topics, including natural resources. For example, in October 2018, Molly Faust, Secretary, led us through the procedure to reach a consensus on the PA League’s Election Law Review and Update.  Additionally, our local league adopted a Solid Waste Management Consensus and a Local Water Consensus in the early 1970’s. We have updated these positions several times since. You can read these and Transportation Needs in the Lehigh Valley Consensus and Tax Base Sharing Consensus included in Positions on Local Issues.  Being properly prepared with grass roots-developed positions in the League’s arsenal; we do whatever we can to influence legislation and programs for the betterment of communities on all levels of government.  A good example of How League Consensus Positions Are Used was written by Chris Herbener for our newsletter, The Voter.

Here are two of PA League’s positions on environmental issues.

Land Use
Support more comprehensive statewide land use planning and adoption of a comprehensive land use policy; support a comprehensive program for the preservation of agricultural and open space lands for Pennsylvania; promote environmentally sound agricultural practices in Pennsylvania.

Natural Gas Extraction from Marcellus Shale
Support the maximum protection of public health and the environment in all aspects of Marcellus Shale natural gas production, the prevention of burdening the taxpayer with costs of industrialization and unanticipated consequences.

For more information about the environment and water issues, go to Links.

We focus on the environment year round.  We are participating in a grant called Straight Scoop on Shale.

Do you know about Plastic Free July?

Hot Topics Luncheons

We offer topics about the environment annually at our Hot Topics Luncheons.   In January 2019, Karen Feridun, Berks Gas Truth, gave the following presentation.

UNLESS SOMEONE LIKE YOU CARES A WHOLE AWFUL LOT…

Karen Feridun, founder of Berks Gas Truth, presented “The State of Fracking in PA in 2019.”  Almost 50 attendees listened to Feridun give a remarkable overview of the history of hydro fracking for natural gas in our state starting in 2005 to date.

In 2005, a national energy bill included the exemption of hydraulic fracturing from the Safe Drinking Water Act to date. But, natural gas is not only used for heating buildings and powering vehicles. Many industries in the U.S. and other countries use the gas to manufacture products such as plastics. (This relationship is described in detail on the “Shale” web page in the “Special Interests” section in our website.) Finally, Feridun listed the many ways hydro fracking has impacted the environment in our state and other gas-producing states. She described the regulations that the Delaware River Basin Commission is considering that would ban hydro fracking in the watershed. Yet, the regulations enable drilling elsewhere. Water from the basin would be transported to these drilling locations and waste would be trucked in and buried. We have been following environmental groups’ campaign asking municipalities to sign a resolution against the regulations.

Feridun pointed out that our state government should be planning for the impact of these industries now and in the future when the gas is gone. Pennsylvania’s Better Path Coalition’s “Article 1, Section 27 campaign” seeks to tell the government just that. Named after the often-disregarded environmental rights amendment to the PA Constitution, the campaign started on Election Day. Then, their volunteers gathered signatures at their polling locations on the petition. On January 28, children dressed as the Lorax delivered copies of the petition, as well as copies of the book The Lorax to every state legislator and Governor Tom Wolf.

More information can be found on the “Environment” web page in our “Special Issues” section of our website.

In March 2019, we scheduled a speaker to present a topic about the environment:

“The Work of the Wildlands Conservancy and its Impact on the Local Environment,” Christopher M. Kocher, President, Wildlands Conservancy

Chris Kocher’s presentation was a wonderful mix of pertinent information about the Wildlands Conservancy, as well as heartwarming stories about a few people who have enjoyed what the Wildlands has to offer the Lehigh Valley and beyond.

Wildlands began in 1973 and grew tremendously when philanthropist Leonard Pool donated 77 acres of land which became the home of Wildlands Conservancy in 1975. Just this past year, the location was renamed the Dorothy Rider Pool Wildlife Sanctuary in honor of his first wife.

Robert Rodale, in 1976, donated 96 acres on South Mountain to the Conservancy called the Walter Tract. And thus began the work of protecting open spaces by this wonderful group. Kocher did mention that one of our members, Janet Keim, was one of the founding members of the Wildlands Conservancy of which we are very proud.

Just this year, Wildlands Conservancy was named as a Land Trust which means they are a private, nonprofit organization whose mission it is to conserve land becoming stewards of such properties. Wildlands is only one of 400 Land Trusts in the entire United States.
Quoting from their Mission Statement: “Wildlands Conservancy envisions a Lehigh Valley and Lehigh River Watershed that contain expansive natural areas, connected green spaces, healthy waterways and an enlightened community where people embrace conservation and sustainability.”

According to Kocher, Wildlands accomplishes this in three major ways:
Through land protection – there have been roughly 2,600+ acres of nature preserves, 72 conservation easements totaling 7,671 acres, and 4,000 acres of protected land in Lackawana County along the Kittatinny Ridge to bring the number of protected acres along this ridge to 13,000.

Environmental Stewardship – the removal of 21 dams, which is the easiest way to improve the health of a waterway for “immediate and lasting” effects, stream restoration, and land protection efforts led by scientists and local college students involved in research, restoration of the native grassland habitat within the 220-acre area of the North Range at the Trexler Nature Preserve, are just a few of their wonderful projects.

Education – Last year, Wildlands educated more than 58,000 people in more than a 1,000 programs throughout the 10-county Lehigh River Watershed. More than 40,000 students experienced over 400 school programs. Programs like the Annual Lehigh River Sojourn, Get -Out! Lehigh Valley — a walking and hiking program — and bi-monthly naturalist outings are just some of the education programs held every year. The Wildlands also conducts nine different summer camps for children ages three to five and up to grade six and above.

We are very grateful to Kocher for his presentation and all the work Wildlands Conservancy does to provide the Lehigh Valley with open spaces and cleaner waters for all of our citizens to enjoy. If you would like to learn more about the Wildlands, their website has much more information at www.wildlandspa.org.
–Mary Erdman

Hot Topics Luncheon for April 2018: a Report

Date: Monday, April 9, 11:30 a.m. -1:00 p.m.

Topic: “Climate Change”

Presentation by: the Citizens Climate Lobby, a grassroots, non-profit, nonpartisan advocacy organization focused on national policies to address climate change.

Guest Speaker: Randy Gyory, Pennsylvania State Co-Coordinator for Citizens Climate Lobby

Topic: A market–based solution for a healthy, livable climate

The second Hot Topics Luncheon presentation that focused on the environment this membership year took place on April 9.   Barbara Williams introduced Randy Gyory, Pennsylvania State Co-Coordinator, for Citizens Climate Lobby (CCL.)  Twenty-five attendees learned about CCL’s legislative proposal, Revenue Neutral Carbon, Fee & Dividend, and how it works.  We welcomed four non-members to the luncheon.  One of them, joined that day: Fred Bomberger.  Welcome!

Julie Swan, member of the league in Northampton County and a contributor to the Bethlehem Press, wrote the piece that appears in the May issue of The Voter.  We appreciate Julie writing the piece that we also posted on our Facebook account. You can read it by clicking here.  The pdf version of the PowerPoint has been posted elsewhere on this website on “Environment” under “Special Issues.”