DUBOIS – Nature Abounds, a central Pennsylvania-based national non-profit organization with the focus on bringing people together for a healthy planet, celebrated its five-year anniversary yesterday, as well as the impact it’s made since being established.
Nature Abounds launched its first signature opportunities, “IceWatch USA” and “Watch the Wild,” in late 2008 and in March 2009, respectively. Both opportunities engaged people within their communities while also collecting information on wildlife, weather and seasonal changes, to then be analyzed for environmental indicators such as climate change.
“To date, we have volunteers in all 50 states engaged”, said Nature Abounds President Melinda Hughes-Wert.
In early 2010, she said Nature Abounds entered a contract with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and in conjunction with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, to revitalize and expand the Pennsylvania Senior Environment Corps, a program that had lost its funding and its coordinating agency. Three years later, she said the program is again thriving, with SEC volunteers engaged in 21 Pennsylvania counties. She said this year the program has also expanded into Maryland, and there are also SECs in Alabama, Florida and Montana.
Nature Abounds will accept a 2013 Western Pennsylvania Environmental Award for the SEC program on May 23 at the Westin Convention Center Hotel in downtown Pittsburgh.
According to Hughes-Wert, Nature Abounds has been active in many environmental aspects. She said it held two Forest Summits in 2012, one in Clearfield County and one in Philadelphia. It’s also held several cleanups. She said this year it’s working with citizens and officials around the Lake Erie Basin on Climate Change.
She said among some of the other issues Nature Abounds has been most active for over the last few years include: the Chesapeake Bay, the Great Lakes Region, fracking, genetically-modified food labels, turtle awareness, invasive flora and fauna, wildlife issues, oil spills and more.
Hughes-Wert said, “In our five-year history, Nature Abounds has already engaged 3,500 citizens in being good stewards of our natural world. We really are achieving what we set out to do . . . bringing people together for a healthy planet.”
More information about Nature Abounds can be found online at www.natureabounds.org, or by calling 814-765-1453. Nature Abounds is based in DuBois.