For those of us immersed in parks and open spaces, it is natural to want to spend time outdoors, whether taking a hike or planting a tree. However, for some Pennsylvanians, daily tasks get in the way of even thinking about outdoor recreation and volunteer opportunities. They might not realize how easy and fun it can be to get involved. Enter “PA Healthy Lands Week.”
What is PA Healthy Lands Week?
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. It is meant to be a rallying cry for stewardship efforts across all lands, parks, waterways, cultural sites, and open spaces in Pennsylvania.
“The physical, mental, and emotional health benefits of being outdoors and donating your time in service cannot be understated,” said Marci Mowery, President of the Pennsylvania Parks and Forests Foundation (PPFF). “That is why PA Healthy Lands Week was created.”
The week kicks off on National Public Lands Day (September 24) and wraps up with A Walk in Penn’s Woods on October 2. Parks and other lands across Pennsylvania are gearing up for the weeklong celebration in a number of ways: organizing hikes, invasive species removal projects, tree plantings, trash pickups, educational events, and much more. A comprehensive list of scheduled events can be found at https://healthylandsweek.org.
How Can You Participate?
As part of this weeklong celebration, its organizers – which include PPFF, the PA Recreation and Parks Society (PRPS), We Conserve PA, Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful, and the PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) – invite you to plan your own outdoor recreation adventures and volunteer stewardship opportunities in which the public can get involved. By registering your event at https://healthylandsweek.org you will expand your audience of potential volunteers and be part of something greater.
“We hope you will be a part of this inaugural celebration of the millions of acres of public lands and greenspaces across Pennsylvania,” said Mowery. “With your organization’s involvement and support, we can introduce thousands of new volunteers to all our lands have to offer for their health and enjoyment!”
Learn more about PA Healthy Lands Week and how you can get involved at https://healthylandsweek.org.
By Jessica Aiello, PA Parks & Forests Foundation