HARRISBURG – Gov. Edward G. Rendell announced the resignation today of Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Michael DiBerardinis.
“Michael’s tenure as DCNR secretary has been marked by many achievements that will have a lasting benefit for the natural resources and economic vitality of this commonwealth,” said Governor Rendell. “Michael has worked tirelessly to improve the stewardship of our state parks and forests, at the same time expanding the conservation mission to include efforts to build and maintain sustainable communities and create outdoor connections for citizens and visitors.
“With Michael’s guidance, communities across Pennsylvania are looking to land conservation, open space protection, outdoor recreation, and trails as ever more powerful community revitalization and economic development tools. His vision, leadership and counsel will be missed.”
Pennsylvania protected more than 130,000 acres of natural areas during DiBerardinis’ term as DCNR secretary, a greater amount than was conserved over the past 30 years. He also helped establish large, regional landscape efforts such as the Pennsylvania Wilds—an initiative that is regarded as a national model for mobilizing and coordinating an array of conservation, tourism promotion, economic development and community revitalization interests.
Under DiBerardinis, the commonwealth invested more than $415 million in rehabilitation and improvements to Pennsylvania’s state parks and forests. He instituted measures to connect citizens to recreational and conservation activities at these attractions like the adventure camps for urban youth to explore the outdoors and the construction of a nature inn at Bald Eagle State Park to offer overnight accommodations beyond the traditional camping experience.
He also launched the iConserve Pennsylvania outreach effort to encourage people to practice conservation in their everyday lives and helped expand TreeVitalize, the statewide metropolitan tree planting initiative. The goal of TreeVitalize is to plant one million trees across the commonwealth to restore cover, educate citizens about caring for our environment, and build capacity among local governments to understand, protect and restore urban trees.
DiBerardinis’ resignation takes effect April 3.