Pennsylvania Senior Environment Corps Honored for Watershed Watchdog Program

local-newsDUBOIS – Nature Abounds, a locally based national non-profit organization with the focus on bringing people together for a healthy planet, recently learned their Senior Environment Corps program is a recipient of the 2013 Western Pennsylvania Environmental Award. The Senior Environment Corps program combines the time and talents of senior volunteers with the conservation priorities of our environment.

Representatives of Nature Abounds will accept the award at the Western Pennsylvania Environmental Awards dinner and ceremony on May 23 at the Westin Convention Center Hotel in downtown Pittsburgh. The award is presented for leadership, effectiveness and results in making an impact on the environment by Dominion and the Pennsylvania Environmental Council and includes a $5,000 donation.

Water quality monitoring is a critical requirement to protecting Pennsylvania’s watersheds and their ecosystems. But with budget issues and shortage of staff, Pennsylvania’s environmental agencies must rely on trained volunteers to collect water quality samples and to educate the public about protecting the Commonwealth’s streams and rivers.

The Pennsylvania Senior Environment Corps program (PaSEC) combines the needs of the community and the Commonwealth with the passion of our senior population.  PaSEC Volunteers with have been collecting water quality data since 1997 and have collected data on more than 13,000 monitoring events on streams across the Commonwealth.

Melinda Hughes-Wert, president of Nature Abounds said, “PaSEC volunteers have dedicated over 2 million hours since 1997 to protecting and restoring the Pennsylvania’s environment through projects like water quality monitoring, marking abandoned oil and gas wells, organizing cleanups of streams and public lands, and educating the public about environmental issues. In one year alone, the estimated value of the PaSEC program to the Commonwealth is estimated at over $3 million.”

The PaSEC program is one of five 2013 award winners from throughout Western Pennsylvania chosen by a group of independent judges of environmental experts and Pennsylvania Environmental Council staff in response to a call for entries earlier this year. All entries were judged on the basis of their relevance to local environmental priorities, evidence of their impact on the environment, their approach to solving an environmental problem and the environmental benefit of their work.

The Western Pennsylvania Environmental Awards program is open to individuals and organizations that demonstrated a commitment to environmental excellence, leadership and accomplishment and made significant contributions toward improving Western Pennsylvania’s environment. Dominion and the Pennsylvania Environmental Council sponsor the Western Pennsylvania Environmental Awards each year to encourage the community to emulate the achievements of the winning entries, thereby promoting innovative environmental efforts and enhancing the quality of life in Western Pennsylvania.

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