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Environmental Grant to Fund Wetlands/Trailhead Project at ESC

The state Department of Environmental Protection has awarded $2,996 to Pennsylvania College of Technology for revitalization of wetlands and related nature-trail work at the Schneebeli Earth Science Center near Allenwood.

The Environmental Education Grant will be used to continue planting a wetland meadow that was begun in Fall 2013 by students in Carl J. Bower Jr.’s Sustainable Landscape Procedures and Practices class.

“We have an area that drains very poorly, and we planted it with more than 1,000 native wetland perennials,” said Bower, a horticulture instructor in the college’s School of Transportation & Natural Resources Technologies. “We will continue planting wetland perennials in this area, which will lead to a set of steps into the woods.”

Those wooden steps – which are in poor condition and will be replaced with a more natural look – are at the head of the nature-trail system that winds through the ESC’s 400-plus-acre campus, where invasive plants will be removed and replaced with native species.

The project, expected to be completed late in the Spring 2015 semester, will illustrate a sustainable forest environment that can be studied in both the horticulture and forest technology curriculums. Faculty will provide guidance with design and installation, but the project will be primarily executed by students.

In addition to Bower and his students, the work will involve a Landscape Construction class taught by Michael A. Dincher, assistant professor of horticulture; a Forest Recreation class with Andrew Bartholomay, assistant professor of forestry; and assistance from Justin Shelinski, laboratory assistant for horticulture.

“Environmental education efforts like yours help to further our mission to improve all Pennsylvanians’ environmental literacy, preparing them to make wise decisions and take positive action on behalf of the environment,” Gov. Tom Corbett said in a grant-approval letter to college officials. “The conservation of the commonwealth’s resources for future generations depends on the effectiveness of these efforts.”

For more about the School of Transportation & Natural Resources Technologies, call 570-327-4516.

For information about Penn College, which is celebrating its Centennial throughout 2014, email the Admissions Office or call toll-free 800-367-9222.

For more information about grant-funding opportunities, faculty and staff may contact the Grants and Contracts Office at ext. 7580 or through its Web portal.

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