August 9, 2021
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
For additional information, contact Marci Mowery at 717-236-7644 or [email protected].
Honoring PA’s Park and Forest COVID-19 Champions at Green Lane Park
The Pennsylvania Parks and Forests Foundation presents in-person awards
Camp Hill, PA – While many aspects of daily life were stalled by quarantine and distancing throughout the pandemic, it was universally recognized that outside was the place to be for our mental and physical wellbeing thus the use of public outdoor spaces exploded. Nearly 47 million people visited Pennsylvania’s state parks and forests in 2020 not to mention the tremendous increase in use of municipal parks, community playgrounds, trails and waterways.
Throughout the ever-changing pandemic situation, staff and volunteers serving Pennsylvania’s public lands rose to the challenges all while accommodating a record number of visitors. In honor of these dedicated individuals, the Pennsylvania Parks and Forests Foundation focused its 2021 annual awards, sponsored by Recreational Equipment Incorporated, on those “COVID-19 Champions” who exemplified the creativity, flexibility, and determination to make sure outdoor recreation and education programs could continue in a safe manner.
On July 27, Marci Mowery, President of PPFF, awarded honorees at Green Lane Park in Montgomery County. Those honored included:
Ryan Beltz, Executive Director of the Perkiomen Watershed Conservancy was presented the COVID-19 Champion Award for Stewardship. Under Ryan’s leadership the Perkiomen Watershed Conservancy was able to continue to provide its education, outdoor stewardship, and recreation activities in spite of the pandemic. Safety measures put in place allowed for their annual stream clean-up to continue with more than 1,200 participants across 364 square miles of the watershed. When gathering in person was not feasible, Ryan adapted many of their traditional events to online platforms, including their native plant sale and fundraising auction.
Angelina Capozzi, former Parks and Recreation Program Coordinator for Upper Gwynedd Township was presented with the COVID-19 Champion Award for Education. When Upper Gwynedd Township closed its doors due to COVID-19, Angelina used her creativity to provide recreational opportunities for township residents which included family-friendly online crafts, weekly “story walks” in the park, and the execution of a summer day camp that sold out. Angelina also converted a lending library into a small food pantry and collected more than 40 backpacks full of school supplies for those in need. (This award was sponsored by The Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia and The Honorable Liz Hanbige.)
These honorees were among 20 individuals and organizations honored across the state who were recognized by PPFF during a virtual ceremony in May. The full printed program and virtual ceremony can be found at https://paparksandforests.org/event/the-covid-19-virtual-awards/.
About the Pennsylvania Parks and Forests Foundation
The Pennsylvania Parks and Forests Foundation supports 121 state parks and 2.2 million acres of forest by coordinating volunteers, activities, and donations through its 48 chapters. The mission of the foundation is to inspire stewardship of Pennsylvania’s state parks and forests. To learn more about PPFF, visit https://paparksandforests.org/. Follow us on social media: