DCNR Environmental Educator’s Service earns award
HARRISBURG — Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf presented a Governor’s Award for Excellence to an environmental educator with the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources whose creativity resulted in new ways to engage the public through virtual programming during the pandemic.
DCNR Environmental Educator Curtis Sherwood, currently assigned to Jacobsburg Environmental Education Center in Northampton County, was honored for his creativity and adaptability as demonstrated in the “Let it Grow”Opens In A New Window music video meant to inspire people to let their grass grow into meadows for pollinators and to help stop erosion during flooding.
“Normally, environmental educators in Pennsylvania state parks bring students and visitors to their local state park or forest for learning experiences. During the pandemic, these programs had to occur online,” DCNR Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn said. “Curtis, like so many of our educators, used ingenuity, talent, and a bit of fun to engage people virtually about our conservation mission when interest in the outdoors was at an all-time high but we couldn’t gather.
“Virtual programming allowed us to reach new audiences of people in Pennsylvania, and across the country. Although we will always welcome visitors to programs at our state parks, we are taking the best ideas and practices learned during the pandemic and including some online programs in our offerings,” Dunn said.
A straightforward talking format of a video that Sherwood was working on wasn’t resonating with him and he was worried that others might find it boring. So, he wrote the lyrics, performed and sang, and edited the “Let it Grow” video with a little help from a friend.
In state parks, DCNR has 118 environmental educators at 63 locations around the commonwealth. There also are two environmental education specialists that offer programming located in Forbes and Tiadaghton state forests.