Pike-Wayne Earth Day Festival: Free family-friendly fun!

Earth Day_Ben Every year around Earth Day, Pike and Wayne County based conservation organizations get together with the same goal in mind: Celebrate Earth Day with the community. For several months prior to the event, the planning committee meets to determine what new activities will be offered to the public. All of the planning ends with one big celebration. This year’s event is almost here!

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On Saturday, April 20, the PPL Wallenpaupack Environmental Learning Center will be open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and packed full of hands-on activities, craft projects, games and much more. We’re highlighting the 40th Anniversary of the Endangered Species Act that has saved many species like red wolves and bald eagles with a species celebration. Visitors are encouraged to come wearing a mask or

costume that represents their favorite native or endangered flora and fauna. We’ll have a “Costume Cave” set-up that day for crafting simple representations of a variety of species. Whether you come prepared or transform while you’re here, visit the “Costume Cave” to find facts about your species or add to your costume.  Think eco-friendly by using recycled or natural materials… and have fun!

Do some spring cleaning before you come and bring your old t-shirts and tennis shoes! Cub Scout Pack #229 will help your memories live on by transforming your  favorite shirts into reusable bags. Tennis shoes can be recycled with Girl Scout Troop #50151. They’ll show you the process of how Nike’s Reuse-A-Shoe program works and collect your old tennis shoes to be recycled.

Other activities include:

  • Bird walks
  • Puppet shows
  • Face painting
  • Food and maple products for sale
  • Help build an eagle’s nest
  • Seedling giveaways and take-home wildflower plantings
  • Stream and lake water study using microscopes
  • Energy bicycle

For more information and directions, visit www.pikewayneearthday.wordpress.com or call (570) 253-7001.

Better yet, come out on Saturday, April 20 between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. to see what all the buzz is about!

It’s For the Birds

Breeding Bird AtlasThe culmination of five years of effort by more than two thousand dedicated birdwatchers across the state is here. It is the Second Atlas of Breeding Birds in Pennsylvania. This book amasses data about the distribution and changes in status for almost two hundred bird species in Pennsylvania. Photographs and descriptions of each species are supplemented by distribution maps that highlight sightings during the surveys and changes since the first atlas survey over twenty years ago.

Staff at PPL’s Montour Preserve and Susquehanna Riverlands contributed to the bird data collection at each site during the five years of the survey.

Andy Wilson, Robert Mulvihill and Dan Brauning, editors of the new book recently released by The Pennsylvania State University Press will appear on the Pennsylvania Cable Network’s (PCN) PA Books show, discussing “Second Atlas of Breeding Birds in Pennsylvania” this Sunday, March 17, 2013 at 9PM.

A listing of cable systems carrying PCN may be found at http://www.pcntv.com/in-your-area. Additionally, paid subscribers to “PCN SELECT” may view the program via live streaming video at http://www.pcntv.com , and it will be posted as a podcast on the website for one week (beginning the Monday after the initial airing).

So, if you are interested, check out our discussion of the book on PCN.

The “Second Atlas” book is available from the Penn State University Press at http://www.psupress.org/books/titles/978-0-271-05630-2.html.

Join the E-power® Army of Savers

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Existing programs, rebates in place through May; new savings incentives start June 1

If you could hand out the kilowatt-hours of electricity saved by PPL Electric Utilities customers through the end of 2012 with the help of the company’s E-power® programs, each person in the United States would get four.

If they were miles, they would circle Earth more than 52,000 times.

As of the end of 2012, PPL Electric Utilities customers who’ve used E-power programs or services since they debuted in 2009 have reached a collective annual electric savings of 1.3 billion kilowatt-hours. They’ve received more than $112 million in rebates and incentives.

Current E-power programs are in effect through May and will be replaced by a new edition of programs, currently under review by the state Public Utility Commission, which are scheduled to begin in June and be in place for the next three years.

 “Customers who haven’t taken advantage of these opportunities should give them a look,” said Thomas C. Stathos, director of Customer Programs and Services for the utility. “Current rebates and incentives, some of which are retroactive to July 1, 2009, will expire when the new slate of E-power programs starts in June 2013.”

For more information on current programs, visit http://www.pplelectric.com and select “Rebate and Incentive Programs” under Save Energy & Money. To view what programs, services and incentives the utility is proposing for the next phase of its E-power programs, check out the Act 129 Phase II plan by selecting “For Act 129 Stakeholders,” also under Save Energy & Money.

“The beauty of energy efficiency is that it’s not a once-and-done exercise. Making changes now — like investing in more energy-efficient appliances, replacing inefficient lighting, and more — provides savings for years to come,” Stathos said.

PPL Electric Utilities has a long history of helping its customers become more energy efficient, a legacy that predates Act 129, Pennsylvania’s energy efficiency and conservation law.

“We’ve always been customer-centered,” Stathos said. “Energy efficiency and conservation has been and continues to be part of who we are. It’s something we believe in and something we want to help customers achieve.”

PPL Electric Utilities Corporation, a subsidiary of PPL Corporation that provides electricity delivery services to about 1.4 million customers in Pennsylvania, consistently ranks among the best companies for customer service in the United States. More information is available at www.pplelectric.com.

Bluebirds in a Winter Wonderland

DSCN1363We woke up to a winter wonderland yesterday and the first thing I did when I got to the Environmental Learning Center was grab the camera and head outside. We only got a dusting of snow overnight but it looked beautiful covering all of the trees around the lake. As I hiked around the preserve I noticed the birds were out and singing in full force. The snow had covered up food on the ground and they were looking for their seeds elsewhere, for the most part at our Project Feeder Watch set up just outside the learning center.

BluebirdAs I made my way down to the lake to photograph the snow covered shore, I noticed what I had been waiting for all winter, bluebirds amongst a snow covered staghorn sumac. They had found their breakfast, and there was plenty of it. During one of the first snows of the season sometime in November I spent a good amount of time standing in the frigid cold just trying to get at least one shot of a bluebird picking at red berries in a bush in front of the learning center. With my hands frozen, I unfortunately came away with photographs of just the pretty red berries covered in snow, and no birds. It has been a goal of mine since that day to get a shot of those bluebirds in the snow.

DSCN1370So as I tried to conceal my excitement to keep still and quiet while bringing up the camera for a shot at these bluebirds, I began to notice just how many there were. I took a few good shots, but of course I had to get closer. Here’s where the snow became my enemy because the crunch of it under my feet started to scare them away.

RSCN1398At that point I went from photographer back to naturalist and started to count. There had actually been at least 25 bluebirds in this stand of staghorn sumac. I know we have a good population of bluebirds here because I usually see 3 or 4 everyday, even in the winter. Now I know their favorite spot and I will certainly be checking back for more! They have plenty of places to stay due to our conservation efforts in providing a large number of bluebird boxes at the preserve, most of which were built by a student at Lackawanna College and then decorated by children at our annual Pike-Wayne Earth Day festival.

RSCN1399We are gearing up for the Paupack Plunge on Saturday and the winter wonderland had us wondering what we were thinking when we signed up to be freezin’ for a reason! You should join us in the fun and help support a great cause!

 

-Sarah Hall, PPL Lake Wallenpaupack

Valentine’s Day Giveaway Winners

Happy Valentine’s Day! We are feeling the love! We are overwhelmed by the response to our Valentine’s Day Giveaway and can’t thank you all enough for helping us to reach a larger audience. Four of our lucky followers have been drawn at random for the prizes as follows:

Garmin eTrex Legend GPS- Jennifer Lewis

Bushnell Waterproof 8x42mm Binoculars- Marilee Ruditis

Coleman LED Micro-Quad Lantern- Tom Hector

PPL Bird Feeder with birdseed- John B. Sweigart

Each winner should contact us via e-mail at pplpreserves@pplweb.com with your contact information to receive your prize.

Thanks again to everyone who participated! You are all amazing followers and we look forward to hearing from you here and on Facebook or Twitter! We encourage everyone to share their experiences at our preserves on our PPL Preserves Facebook page, so don’t hesitate to post those great pictures you have!

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