For additional information, contact:
Marci J. Mowery, President
Pennsylvania Parks and Forests Foundation
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
September 8th, 2022
September 13, 2022, would have been Maurice K. Goddard’s 110th birthday. To mark that milestone, the Pennsylvania Parks and Forests Foundation (PPFF) invites you to get outdoors and volunteer in a state park or forest near you to thank Goddard for his significant conservation legacy.
Goddard served under a record five Pennsylvania governors as Secretary of Forests and Waters and as the founding Secretary of the Department of Environmental Resources (DER). In those roles, he not only championed the ‘park within 25-mile of every resident goal’ but also implemented a watershed-scale approach to water management, created dedicated funding sources for natural resource conservation (the Oil and Gas Fund, Project 70 and Project 500 bond initiatives), and was instrumental in forming the Delaware River Basin Commission and Susquehanna River Basin Commission, among many other accomplishments.
“Earlier this year, we celebrated the 50th anniversary of M.K. Goddard State Park and Doc Goddard’s legacy, which continues to shape the efforts of the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources,” said DCNR Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn. “We remain committed to expanding outdoor recreation opportunities in Pennsylvania, building on the example Goddard set over his landmark tenure.”
Like PPFF promotes through its videos and social media channels today, Goddard recognized back then the vital role parks and forests play in human health and the economy. He also championed the free admission program that makes access to state parks and forests affordable to all Pennsylvanians. PPFF continues to promote the benefits of this free access and free parking that made our state parks the destination for more than 47 million visitors in 2021, supporting local businesses in the process.
Today, PPFF and its supporters continue to build on Goddard’s legacy by building and supporting friends groups and their volunteers who help maintain parks and forests, which in turn protects water and air quality and contributes to our quality of life. To date, there are 47 friends groups across Pennsylvania that participate in tree plantings, trail maintenance projects, litter cleanups, event organizing, leading educational programs, and much more. You can learn more about these groups and how to volunteer at https://paparksandforests.org/friends-groups.
Secretary Dunn also said, “As we celebrate Doc Goddard’s vision and honor his birthday on September 13, I encourage Pennsylvanians to get outside for exercise and peace of mind, and to also seek out conservation cause to support, whether that is picking up trash at a local park, planting a tree, or becoming a member of a state park or forest friends group.”
“I cherish what our state parks and forests provide all of us in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania,” said Friends of M.K. Goddard State Park volunteer, Fran Bires. “These beautiful natural places give us solitude, recreation of all kinds, and an opportunity to connect with the natural world. Because of what parks and forests gives me, I feel a need to give back in the form of volunteering, supporting and nurturing these places. Our friends group works closely with the park manager and assists with the needs of the park, whether it’s purchasing playground equipment, maintaining a multi-purpose trail, or projects that deal directly with conservation and education. If you use our state parks and forests, but have never got more involved, think about joining a friends group or volunteering in another way.”
In addition to volunteer opportunities being organized by PPFF’s friends groups, other ways to volunteer can be found at https://healthylandsweek.org. September 24 – October 2, 2022, marks the inaugural PA Healthy Lands Week, which is a statewide initiative created to introduce newcomers to the idea of volunteering to help improve our public lands while being active and getting some healthy outdoor recreation. Participating in PA Healthy Lands Week is an easy yet powerful way to honor Goddard’s legacy while doing good for the planet and your health.
“Maurice Goddard devoted his life to making Pennsylvania a better place for all,” said Marci Mowery, President of PPFF. “You can continue to build on his legacy by volunteering within a state park or forest, becoming a member of PPFF, and being a voice for these precious public lands.”
About the Pennsylvania Parks and Forests Foundation
Founded in 1999, 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 47 chapters. The mission of the foundation is to inspire stewardship of Pennsylvania’s state parks and forests. PPFF partnered with DCNR, The Heinz Endowments, and others to create a PBS special on the life and legacy of Maurice Goddard, which can be viewed at https://www.pbs.org/video/witf-the-life-of-maurice-goddard.
To learn more about PPFF, visit https://paparksandforests.org/
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