Pennsylvania State Parks

October & Early November 2022 E-Blast

As the days grow shorter and the temps get cooler, we begin to prep for our cozy months ahead☕. Autumn is a time to slowdown and reconnect with friends, family, and nature. This month's October/Early November e-blast is full of autumn-themed, nature-based projects, grant ideas, resources for Green Careers, and quick Halloween-themed lessons & activities that will work perfectly for your sugar-filled students on 🎃October 31🍬🍫

Take time to explore the sensory overload of fall in Pennsylvania - bushels of apples, fields of pumpkins, and golden leaves beneath our feet. Consider venturing out in your neighborhood or a state park that's been on your list to explore. You'll be amazed at the beauty that abounds 🍂.

The fall 🍁leaves are breathtaking this year! Feeling overwhelmed? Try this video of Beautiful autumn🍂colors set to relaxing music.

We spent extra time on this edition. This e-blast covers October🎃and early November🍂. Because we are ALL busy in November & December, we are combining those months into one e-blast that will come out in December.

E-Blast Contents:

  • Section 1: Halloween, Autumn, & Geology Teaching Ideas, Activities, & Lessons + FREE! PLT Green Jobs Guide for Teachers
  • Section 2: In-Person Educator Professional Development Workshops
  • Section 3: Grants for Educators & Radon Poster Contest
  • Section 4: NEW! PA State Parks & Explore the Outdoors!
  • Section 5: Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion (DEI)
  • Capstone: PA State Park Updates

Section 1:

Halloween, Autumn, & Geology

Teaching Ideas, Activities, & Lessons

+ FREE PLT Green Jobs guide for Teachers!

Halloween 🦇 Activity Ideas & Lessons🎃!


  • 🧟‍♀️Invasion of the Body Snatchers Ever wonder where Hollywood gets some of their crazier sci-fi ideas? From nature, of course! Parasites that consume their hosts from the inside out or turn them into walking zombies🧟‍♀️are quite common. 🤮Check out some of nature's body snatchers... if you dare!

  • 🕸Celebrate Spooky Science with NOAA! Includes everything from creepy Zombie🧟‍♂️science to ghost👻fishing🎣 to an Ode to the Moon🌙 to Spooky Sea🌊Creatures and so much more!



🍂Teaching About FALL!🍂 

Go on a simple Fall🍁Scavenger Hunt & 5 Simple Autumn Nature Adventures with Kids!- from Run Wild my Child

Exploring the Phenomenon of Shadows and Seasons with the Exploratorium's Institute for Inquiry NGSS-aligned lesson for grades K-5. Includes lesson plan, video demo, slides, & more. FREE!

National Fossil Day 

Wednesday, October 12, 2022

While the official date has passed, we can still celebrate National Fossil Day! National Fossil Day is an annual celebration to highlight the scientific and educational value of paleontology and the importance of preserving fossils for future generations.

Pennsylvania has an exciting geologic history and offers many fossil finds. Learn more about PA's Fossils.

Order your own PA Rock Box (scroll down to bottom page)! 12 samples for $15 or 30 samples for $30 ($4.95 S/H). Order NOW.

Also, check out the plethora of resources for Earth Science Week! Check out their FREE online Toolkit which includes an Earth Science Activity Calendar, printable posters, lessons, & more. You can also order the actual Toolkit (only pay $9.95 S/H). These resources are great year-round!

Project Learning Trees (PLT) Green Jobs: Exploring Forest Careers -

FREE Educator Guide!

Green jobs represent one of the fastest growing and changing segments of the global economy. Today’s youth are seeking rewarding careers that move towards more sustainable lifestyles and greener economies. The next generation wants to work with purpose, and they want to feel like they are making a difference in the world.

The PA Department of Agriculture was awarded grant funds to distribute Project Learning Tree’s Green Jobs: Exploring Forest Careers guide FREE to Pennsylvania Teachers! If you are interested in receiving a free copy of this resource, please complete this survey. For more information about this resource visit the Project Learning Tree website

Project Learning Tree (PLT) is a program of the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SF().


Section 2: Earn Act 48 hours

In-Person Educator Professional Development Workshops

Go to the DCNR Calendar for ALL Upcoming Educator Workshops

All COVID safety protocols will be followed for all in-person workshops.

November 2022 Educator Workshops

Project WILD🦊Educator Workshop

Saturday, November 5, 9:30 am - 2:30 pm

In-Person at Bald Eagle State Park149 Main Park Rd. Howard, PA 16841

Act 48: 4.5 hrs.

Fee: $10.00 payable in advance; pre-registration is required. 

Project WILD is an interdisciplinary environmental education curriculum which focuses on wildlife. This workshop is open to all educators who work with students from grades K-12, from formal teachers to naturalists, scout leaders, and others! Earn 4.5 Act 48 hours while experiencing hands-on activities related to wildlife that help develop awareness, skills, and knowledge resulting in informed decisions and responsible behavior regarding wildlife and the environment. Participants will receive the updated Project WILD K-12 Curriculum & Activity Guide which now offers STEM activity extensions, field investigation activities, a WILD WORK career section, and more. Register NOW. Questions? Contact Michelle Smithbauer, EES at or call 814-625-9369.

GO Teach: GPS Educator Workshop🧭

Tuesday, November 15 at 10:00 am - 2:30 pm

In-Person at Hickory Run State Park, 3 Family Camp Road, White Haven, PA 18661

Act 48: 4 hrs.

Fee: $10.00 per person

Learn how to incorporate more outdoor recreation in the classroom through this curriculum that focuses on using GPS technology. Aimed at non-formal and classroom teachers alike, this DCNR created cross-curricular guide is designed to take the mystery out of using a GPS unit, while also introducing your students to the popular recreational activity of Geocaching. Participants will receive the GO Teach: GPS Curriculum, which was written with middle school aged students in mind. Register NOW. Questions? Contact Megan Fedor, EES at or 570-403-2006.

More educator workshops are coming soon!

Section 3:

Grants for Educators & Radon Poster Contest

DEP Environmental Education Grants

Have an idea for a classroom or non-formal environmental education (EE) project for youth or adults? Make it happen! DEP is accepting applications for their Environmental Education Grants until December 9, 2022A total of $900,000 of funding is available!

  • Mini-grants are increased to $5,000 for local EE projects by school, county, municipality, or other defined area.
  • General Grants Level I are increased to $30,000 for large-scale regional and/or statewide environmental education projects.
  • General Grants Level II remain at a $85,000 ceiling for non-formal EE environmental education programs to widely engage teachers and youth at 3 levels: county, state, and national. Teachers and students from at least 60 Pennsylvania counties must directly participate, and at least 30% of the project participants must live or work within an Environmental Justice area.

Funding for General Grants Level I and II is provided on a reimbursement basis.

Expanded expense coverage:

  • Funding for people costs is increased to 50%
  • Projects that get a General Grant can now use up to 30% of total grant funds to purchase program-specific technology.
  • In addition, lodging and boat, kayak, & paddleboard rentals are now also included among expenses eligible for grant funding.

DEP EE Grants support formal or non-formal EE projects that address one or more of these priorities:

  • Water 💦 quality: Education programs promoting effective ways to reduce non-point source and source water pollution to improve water quality;
  • Climate sun ☀ change: Education projects that promote practical solutions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the negative impacts of climate change, including floods, changes to groundwater, pests, disease, agricultural disruptions, and potential threats to human health;
  • Environmental Justice: Education programs that engage youth and/or adults living or working within Environmental Justice areas.

The 2023 EE Grants Program Webinar was held on Tuesday September 27, 2022.

Access the webinar recording.

For more information, visit the Environmental Education Grants web page or

check out the Environmental Education Grants Fact Sheet.

Questions about DEP EE Grants? Contct  

Department of Environmental Protection (DEP)

Radon Poster🎨Contest

The DEP Radon Division is excited to announce the 2023 Student Radon Poster Contest. Students ages 9-14 are encouraged to combine science & art by creating an educational poster that shows the physical aspects of radon, the harmful effects of indoor radon gas, or the importance of testing for radon in the home.

The deadline to enter posters into the contest is November 1, 2022. Enter NOW!

DEP will submit Pennsylvania’s 1st place student poster to the 2023 National Radon Poster Contest, sponsored by the Conference of Radiation Control Program Directors. 


Section 4:

NEW PA State Parks & Explore the Outdoors!

As the saying goes... Good Things Come in Three's🌲!

Governor Tom Wolf announced the locations for three new PA State Parks that he’s adding to the 121-state park system in Pennsylvania.

Besides providing access to outdoor recreation and environmental education close to large population bases, the new Pennsylvania state parks are:

  •  Steeped in cultural pre- and post-Colonial history
  • Centered around important water resources
  • Represent fantastic natural resource value

Learn more -

Every Kid Outdoors!

Hey fourth graders! See America's National natural wonders and historic sites for free.

Get passes for your students!

Fourth-grade educators can download an activity & print passes for each of their students. This program only provides passes for 4th graders.

Get your pass!

PA State Parks are FREE to enter. This is for National Parks, Forests, and other National sites.

13th Annual Kids to Parks Day is Saturday, May 20, 2023. 

As a part of the celebration, the National Park Trust is pleased to once again offer their Kids to Parks Day School Grants Program for Title 1 Schools.

The Kids to Parks Day School Grants Program will grant the following:

  • Up to $500 per classroom for a distance learning experience OR
  • Up to $1,000 per classroom for an in-park field trip
  • February 17, 2023 - Deadline for online application

This program is designed to be student-driven, and student-teacher collaboration is necessary. All applications must include a stewardship element and a park-themed educational component that focuses on either outdoor recreation and healthy lifestyles, environmental education/science, or history. Apply NOW! Questions? Contact Emily Swanzy at


Want to learn about Owls, Astronomy, or Fall Foliage?🦉🌒 Or take a Guided Hike🥾? 

Check out the unique fall-centric programs scheduled at PA State Parks across the state. You're sure to find something that interests you! Consider going for a drive to a PA State Park you've never visited and soak up fall in Penn's Woods. Find amazing fall programs from October 29 & onward!🍁(Click the arrows➡ to advance the date)

NEW VIDEO📹! Get Kids Outside! Outdoor Recreation & Children - A Perfect Match video from the PA Parks & Forestry Foundation (PPFF) (4:42 min.)

Pennsylvania Fall Foliage 

Pennsylvania has a longer and more varied fall foliage season than any other state in the nation -- or anywhere in the world! It's not too late to still see gorgeous colors 🍂🍁!

Only three regions of the world support deciduous forests that display fall autumn color:

  • Eastern North America
  • The British Isles & parts of northwestern Europe
  • Northeastern China & northern Japan

Forests in other regions are either tropical or dominated by conifers. PA’s location between 40° & 42° North latitude, and its varied topography from sea level on the coastal plain to over 3,000 feet in the Laurel Highlands supports 134 species of trees + many more shrubs & vines that contribute to the autumn color display. 

Learn more & find all of Pennsylvania's DCNR - Bureau of Forestry Fall Foliage Reports🍂

Autumn Fall

Section 5:

Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion

- Learn more about DCNR's DEI efforts-

PLT's Green Mentor Program is accepting mentee applications! The Green Mentor Program is a dynamic 6-month program that connects young people (ages 18-30) to seasoned Green Jobs professionals.

This opportunity is open to youth interested in growing in the forest and conservation sector. Participants will be matched with an established professional to support their professional growth and career exploration. Mentors are also wanted.


Cost: Free

Apply now to be a MENTOR or a MENTEEApplications close Monday, November 21, 2022. 

Mentee Applicants must:

  • Be between 18-30 years old 
  • Commit 2-3 hours/month to meeting with their mentor & 1 hr/month to career readiness webinars from February 2023-July 2023. 
  • Grow their professional network through exclusive online events & professional development opportunities. 
  • Build confidence, communication, networking, & goal-setting skills. 
  • Access the Career Pathway Plan & online career course that includes professional development content, interactive tasks, & prompts for connecting with your mentor. 
PA State Parks are YOURS!

Book your virtual, in-person programs, and field experiences with PA State Park Education staff now! Find a PA State Park. Need help connecting to a PA State Park with an Educator on staff? Reach out to Carissa Longo

DCNR facilities and Programs are OPEN with social distancing encouraged:

  • Many Environmental Education programs require pre-registration. Explore the DCNR events calendar for details and to register.
  • Plan your outing before you leave. Learn about facilities, download a park map, and review regulations here: Find park pages here
  • Take care of & respect the resource. Park, hike, picnic, hunt, & more only in designated areas.
  • Check the weather before you depart, wear layers & proper footwear, and bring water with you.
  • Wear orange if hiking in designated hunting areas.
  • Download a park map onto your phone before you leave or carry a park map with you!
  • Please do not litter 🚮.
  • Alcohol is not allowed in PA State Parks.
  • Make a reservation at a PA State Park Campground, Camping Cottage, Cabin, or Yurt. Reservations can be made up to 11 months in advance.


You can help keep state parks safe for all by following these practices:

  • Use the restroom before you leave your house 🏡
  • Bring a bag and either carry out your trash or dispose of it properly
  • Stay on marked trails
  • Clean up after pets 🐕

  • Continue to practice social distancing (stay >6' apart)
  • Take hand sanitizer with you and use it regularly
  •  Avoid touching your face, eyes, and nose
  • If you are sick or have been exposed to someone who is sick, stay home

 💨 Enjoy Sweater Weather 🍂☕

Carissa Longo, Environmental Education Program Coordinator


Christine Ticehurst, Recreation and Interpretation Coordinator

Visit the DCNR Events Calendar- Teacher Workshops to find additional training opportunities! Click the arrows to see upcoming months.

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