Nurture Nature Center receives 2022 Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence through the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection

Nurture Nature Center is honored to receive the 2022 Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence through the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection for the Watershed-Friendly Property Program (established through a grant from PA DEP Environmental Education Program).  Executive Director, Rachel Hogan Carr, and Outreach Educator, Gabi Sullivan, accepted the award on behalf of the NNC team during a reception on April 26th, 2022 in Harrisburg. Art Director, Keri Maxfield, and Science Director, Kathryn Semmens, helped create and implement the program from 2020-2021.

NNC and the Penn State Extension Master Watershed Steward program developed the Watershed Friendly Properties education and certification program that consists of an online application, a scripted PowerPoint, educational handout, and property signs. The goal of this project was to expand the number of watershed-friendly properties throughout PA while at the same time educating residents, communities, educational institutions, and businesses about the value of a healthy watershed and best practices for improving water quality. The objectives of the program include reducing stormwater runoff, reducing water pollution, conserving water, and supporting wildlife and pollinators.

Over 600 Pennsylvania residents were reached through the project’s outreach/presentations. Watershed-Friendly Property Certification recognizes landowners who incorporate best practices in managing and protecting water resources and provide habitat for wildlife and pollinators on their property. In addition, the certification recognizes landowners who make a commitment to minimize their potential impact on water quality by using less harmful chemicals and maintain good housekeeping of their property. To date, there have been a total of 300 applications with a 270 passing (a 90% pass rate) and 250 signs have been mailed throughout the state representing 49 total counties (almost three-fourths of the state represented). These are properties that are contributing to the health of PA’s watersheds through practices such as rain gardens and other stormwater management strategies, cultivation of native vegetation, elimination of pollution sources, conservation of water (rain barrels), and more.

       Meagan Hopkins-Doerr (Penn State Extension), Gabi Sullivan, and Rachel Hogan Carr (left to right) stand in front of the Watershed-Friendly Property Outreach Display

Rachel Hogan Carr accepts the 2022 Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence at a reception in Harrisburg