Pennsylvania State Parks

November 2023 E-Blast


After a short hiatus, we're BACK! Oh my! We missed YOU so much! 💞Thank you to our subscribers who let us know how much they missed us too. You gave us that warm, fuzzy feeling.

We are so thankful to greet you once again and hopefully provide you with lessons, activities, and ideas to assist your teaching this fall season. 🧡🍁

This fall features a bumper mast crop (AKA Acorns (esp. Red Oak Acorns) are everywhere!). With this many acorns, it's time to make 12 Adorable Acorn🌱Crafts - from Hello Wonderful

Check out the plethora of free stuff, lessons, grants, awards, educator professional development, and more below.

E-Blast Contents:

  • Section 1: Fall 🍁 & Thanksgiving 🦃, & More Teaching Ideas
  • Section 2: In-Person Educator Professional Development Workshops
  • Section 3: Conferences, Webinars, Grants, Contests, & Award
  • Section 4: Explore the Outdoors!
  • Section 5: Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion (DEI)
  • Capstone: PA State Park Updates

Section 1:

Teaching Ideas, Activities, & Lessons on Fall 🍁, Thanksgiving 🦃, Birds, & Bats 🦇

How We Play: Co-Creating Outdoor Spaces for Black Children and What They Want

Virtual - Thursday, November 16, 3:00 PM EST 💻

This session focuses on the collaborative creation of outdoor play areas tailored for Black children between the ages of 3 & 6. Drawing from the extensive research of Dr. Deja Jones, Founder of Honeypot Montessori, and the hands-on expertise of Ashley Causey-Golden, co-founder of Gather School, we will explore the practical implementation of research.

Participants will gain a comprehensive understanding of co-creating outdoor spaces with Black children, emphasizing empowerment, and understanding power dynamics within these environments. The session will also highlight the significance of broadening our conceptualization of nature. Register NOW!

Fall & Thanksgiving Teaching Ideas & Lessons

🍁FREE! Simple Turkey🦃Crafts! - from Little Pine Learners 🍁

🍁Take a fun brain break with "Woody's Turkey Run!In this GoNoodle-inspired game, players try to find Woody's missing turkey by dodging the obstacles & solving the puzzles. YouTube video 6:12 min.

🍁Fall Leaf🍂Sensory Writing Tray - Perfect for those fine motor skills! - from Little Pine Learners

🍁Got Extra Pumpkins? Try STEM Pumpkin🎃Activities for Kids - make pumpkin bubbles, pumpkin slime, pumpkin elephant toothpaste, & more 🎃. - from Run Wild My Child

🍁Fall Into Phenomena: Using NGSS to Harvest Student Investigations - Fall 🍂 is full of phenomena to harvest your students' engagement & anchor understandings. Check out these examples of anchoring phenomena & student questioning to lead to investigations & sense-making for the fall season in your classroom. - from Teaching Channel

🍁Nature🍂Scavenger Hunt Printables (includes a "Signs of Winter Scavenger Hunt") ($5.00 to download 18 hunts) - from Little Pine Learners

Bird Teaching Resources from The Cornell Lab of Ornithology

Learn about the world of owls 🦉 with this beautiful, FREE, downloadable Owl poster (illustrations by Liz Wahid).

Download the FREE "Explorer's Guidebook for Birds!" Take kids on a habitat scavenger hunt, create a sound map, and test bird ID skills with this adaptable, step-by-step activity book designed to be used by educators & families. Geared towards 4th graders.

The Lab also offers other low-cost resources (K-12 Bird ID Cards, K-12 Scavenger Hunt Cards (in English & Spanish), & more.

🦇🦇🦇🦇🦇🦇🦇🦇🦇🦇🦇🦇🦇🦇🦇🦇🦇🦇🦇🦇🦇🦇 We may have sadly missed Bat 🦇 Week, but we still need to share just a few of the awesome batty resources!

🦇 Make a Nature Bat Craft- from Little Pine Learners 

🦇 Teach About Bats (TONS of resources from the Bat Week website) 

🦇 Bat Facts & Activity sheet + lessons, PPTs, & activities - from the PA Game Commission (PGC)

🦇 Teachers can borrow a Bat Teaching Trunk from "BatsLIVE" (scroll down the page for PA contact).

🦇 Find the latest spread map & learn about the devastating White Nose Syndrome (WNS) that affects bats; includes lots of WNS teaching resources. Current WNS spread map.

Section 2:

In-Person Educator

Professional Development Workshops

See ALL of the Upcoming Educator Workshops on the DCNR Calendar

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

November 2023 Educator Workshops
Project WILD

Project🦃Wild Educator Workshop

Saturday, November 18, 9:00 am - 2:30 pm

In-Person at Norristown Farm Park, 2500 Upper Farm Road, Norristown, PA 19403

Act 48: 5 hrs.

Fee: $15.00, pre-registration is required; payable day of workshop

Project WILD is a wildlife-focused conservation education program for Pre-K-12 educators and their students. Participants who attend this workshop will receive the award-winning Project WILD K-12 Curriculum & Activity Guide along with other great materials. The guide is filled with a variety of hands-on, interdisciplinary lessons. The workshop is open to both formal & non-formal educators. Professional Facilitators from DCNR State Parks & Montgomery County will help attendees learn to implement it with their students. Register NOW. Questions? Email Rebecca Blackletter, EES at 

PLT🌲& Getting Little Feet WET💦Early Childhood Teacher Workshop

Monday, November 27, 9:00 am - 12:00 pm

In-Person at the Tioga Forest District Office, 1 Nessmuk Lane, Wellsboro, PA 16901

Act 48: 3 hrs.

Fee: $20.00 payable in advance; pre- registration required.

This workshop offers not one, but two award-winning resources for early childhood educators! Trees & Me is part of Project Learning Tree (PLT), and it offers 12 activities for families & teachers to connect children ages 1–6 to nature, with a focus on trees. Project WET's Getting Little Feet WET teaches about water in fun, interactive ways, including 11 activities for ages 3-6. Each participant will explore the activities & will receive both books. Register NOW (by 11/22/23 at Noon) Questions? Contact Tim Morey, NRPS, or 570-724-8561.

More Educator Professional Development Trainings are scheduled.

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

Section 3:

Conferences, Webinars, Grants, Contests, & Awards

2024 PAEE Annual Conference: Reflecting Inward, Teaching Outward

The PAEE Annual Conference is an opportunity to celebrate and grow in the fantastic environmental education field in Pennsylvania! Register for the Conference NOW!

Full Conference Scholarships 💰 are available for Environmental Educators, Classroom Teachers, & School Administrators (includes a 1-year membership to PAEE)

Apply NOW! Deadline: December 15, 2023 Priority given to teachers or school administrators that serve Title I schools, marginalized communities, or otherwise work to grow DEI & environmental justice. 

Conference Schedule-at-a-Glance

  • ​March 17 Pre Conference workshops, Dinner for all, & Evening Activities (socials, game & movie night, networking, etc.)
  • March 18 – Breakfast, Conference Workshops, Lunch, Keynote Speaker, Dinner, Awards Ceremony, PAEE Annual Board Meeting, & Evening Activities
  • March 19 Breakfast, Conference Workshops, Lunch, Silent Auction Winners, & Closing

AWARDS! Be a Winner! Nominate a yourself, a worthy EE colleague, partner, business, program for a 2024 PAEE🥇Award! Learn More & Submit a Nomination NOW!

Nominate yourself, your nature center, or someone else for a PA MWEE 💦 Award 🥇! There are two PA MWEE 💦Awards.

  1. Nominate your nature center or another EE Program Provider for the 2024 MWEE Partner of Excellence Award. Submit a MWEE Partner Award🥇Nomination NOW!
  2. Nominate a PreK-12 formal educational institution (e.g., individual schools, entire school districts) for the 2024 MWEE School of Excellence Award - Submit a MWEE School of Excellent Award🥇Nomination NOW!

Deadline for all awards: December 15, 2023 - Questions? Email

Upcoming MWEE💦Practitioner Webinars from the NOAA Chesapeake Bay Office

  • Designing MWEEs for Special Education Learners -- Tuesday, November 28, 3-4 PM EST 💦

MWEEs should be accessible and available for ALL students. During this webinar learn from PA Intermediate Unit 13 about how they designed & implemented MWEEs for their Center-based Programs as well as some of the resources that can be adapted and used in any context. Register NOW!

  • Performance Assessments & MWEEs in Elementary -- Thursday, December 14, 2-3 PM EST 💦

Performance Assessments (PA) measure students ability to apply the skills & knowledge learned from a unit of study typically through creating a product or answering a question. In some states like Virginia, PAs are required at various points in a student's K-12 career. During this webinar learn about how PAs can be used to also meet the MWEE approach by exploring an example developed by the Virginia Department of Education. Register NOW!

  •  Climate Resources for Supporting MWEEs -- Monday, January 8, 11 AM-12 PM EST 💦

This webinar will feature a number of resources for developing & implementing a climate-focused MWEE, including a brand new Environmental Literacy Model (ELM) that can be used or adapted to your local context. Register NOW

  • PWCPS District Envi. Literacy Plan -- Tuesday, February 6, 2-3 PM

Join leaders from Prince William County Public Schools to learn about how they created their district environmental literacy plan, what’s included in their plan, & their lessons learned for others wanting to create a district EL plan. Register NOW!


💦 💦 💦 💦 💦 💦 💦 💦💦 💦 💦 💦💦 💦 💦 💦💦 💦 💦

The 2024 NOAA Bay-Watershed Education & Training (B-WET) Grant Round is NOW OPEN!

The NOAA Chesapeake Bay Program is excited to announce the availability of up to $1.4 million in funding for new NOAA Bay-Watershed Education & Training (B-WET) Grants in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.

There are two funding opportunities are available 💦 -

  • School District Programming - Funding will support projects to help school districts deliver Meaningful Watershed Educational Experiences (MWEEs) to students, provide PD for teachers & educators, &/or build environmental literacy capacity in school districts. Applicants may address climate change special interest area. Up to $900,000 in total funding; this will support roughly 9-14 new projects.
  • Statewide K-12 Environmental Literacy Capacity Building - This funding will support state-wide efforts to build capacity to deliver Environmental Education. It will provide up to $500,000 for 4-6 projects.

Free, Informational webinars for potential applicants 💦

  • December 12 at 11:00 am EST
  • December 18 at 3:00 pm EST

To sign up for these webinars & and learn more, visit NOAA Chesapeake Bay. Applications due by February 16, 2024.

Questions? Contact Elise Trelegan at

Applications Open for Pennsylvania’s Green Ribbon💚Schools Award

In an effort to boost environmental literacy and sustainability across the Commonwealth, the Shapiro Administration today announced that applications are now being accepted for the U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools (ED-GRS) and the PA Pathways to Green Schools Awards.

Each state may nominate up to 5 Pre-K-12 schools or districts and 1 postsecondary institution for the annual Department of Education's Green Ribbon Schools program. The U.S. Department of Education selects and announces awardees in the spring.

Learn the Eligibility Requirement & Application Details

International Student Art Contest

2024 Science without Boarders Challenge - "Hidden Wonders of the Deep"

The Science Without Borders® Challenge is an international contest that engages students in ocean conservation through art. This annual competition inspires students to be creative while promoting public awareness of the need to preserve, protect, & restore the world’s oceans & aquatic resources. The Challenge is open to primary & secondary school students 11-19 years old, with scholarships of up to $500 awarded to the winning entries.

Learn More Details & Apply Now! Application Deadline: March 4, 2024

Section 4:

Explore the Outdoors!

Get Outdoors! 🌳🎒🗺🍁Celebrate National Take a Hike Day on Friday, November 17!

Whether its going out for a walk around the neighborhood or heading out to a Pennsylvania State Park, there's so much to experience on "National Take a Hike Day" or any day this month. We encourage you to take a little bit of time to enjoy nature!

For upcoming guided, self-guided. or virtual programs scheduled at Pennsylvania State Parks visit the DCNR Event Calendar.

Remember...Check the weather before you depart, dress in layers, wear proper footwear 🥾, and bring water. Wear orange if hiking in designated hunting areas. Always leash your pets 🐕 and clean up after them. Make sure to familiarize yourself with the park before you go. To locate a map for your PA State Park of choice visit here! 🗺

While hiking, follow Hiking Trail Etiquette (InfoGraphic is also available in Spanish), and learn How to Read Hiking Trail Markers in Pennsylvania (InfoGraphic is also available in Spanish).

Thank you for the PA Parks & Forestry Foundation (PPFF) for designing these wonderful Trail InfoGraphic Signs. See PPFF's other InfoGraphics & publications.

Section 5:

Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion

- Learn more about DCNR's DEI efforts-

November is National Native American Heritage Month!

From The White House Proclamation: "During National Native American Heritage Month, we recognize the invaluable contributions of Native peoples that have shaped our country and honor the hundreds of Tribal Nations who continue exercising their inherent sovereignty as vital members of the overlapping system of governments in the United States."  

2023 Statewide Annual Virtual Grant Workshop for Recreation and Conservation Projects

Thursday, November 16, 2023, 9:00 am - 12:00pm EST, Virtual

This free, virtual workshop will help applicants develop project ideas in preparation for submitting a grant application to DCNR's Community Conservation Partnerships Program (C2P2). The next grant round opens Tuesday, January 16, 2024 & closes Wednesday, April 3, 2024 @4:00 PM.

DCNR Bureau of Recreation & Conservation staff will present grant program selection criteria, review program priorities, & cover eligible project types. Ample Q & A time is included.

The workshop is especially suited for municipal officials, consultants, board members, trail managers, land trust staff, and park & recreation professionals. Register NOW!

The Pennsylvania Outdoor Corps (POC) is a training program administered by the Student Conservation Association (SCA) in direct cooperation with the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation & Natural Resource (DCNR).

The Outdoor Corps offers paid work experience, skills training, professional development, & Environmental Education opportunities to youth & young adults across Pennsylvania.

More Info. & Application Details

Move United Athlete Grant

The Move United Athlete Grant is open to adaptive youth & adult athletes with a permanent physical disability. Each Move United Athlete Grant provides an individual athlete with up to $500 to be used to support the purchase of adaptive sports equipment or participation related fees (including travel expenses, competition fees, etc.). 

  • 75 individual athlete grants available
  • Deadline to apply is January 1, 2024

 To apply: Join as Move United Individual Member (Free for Individual Level) & complete the application. If you are already a member, login to your account to apply.

Learn More about Move United Sports!

PA State Parks are YOURS!

Book your virtual, in-person programs, and field experiences with PA State Park Educators! 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 to ALL👐

  • Many Environmental Education programs require pre-registration. Explore the DCNR events calendar for details & to register.
  • Plan your outing before you leave. Learn about facilities, download a park map on your phone or print it, and review regulations here: Find A Park
  • Take care of & respect the resource. Park, hike, hunt, & more only in designated areas.
  • Check the weather before you depart, wear layers, proper footwear, and bring water. Wear orange if hiking in designated hunting areas. Please clean up after pets 🐕.
  • Do not litter 🚮.
  • Alcohol is not allowed in PA State Parks.
  • Make a reservation (up to 11 months in advance) at a PA State Park Campground, Camping Cottage, Cabin, Yurt, or Pavilion.


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
  • Continue to practice social distancing (stay >6' apart), take hand sanitizer with you and use it
  • If you are sick or have been exposed to someone who is sick, stay home

🍂 Happy Autumn! 🍂

Carissa Longo, Natural Resource Program Specialist

(Coordinating Project WILD for PA & DCNR's Watershed Education curriculum for PA State Parks)


Christine Ticehurst, Natural Resource Program Specialist

(Coordinating PLT & DCNR's GO Teach Curriculum for PA State Parks)


Kim Lott, Natural Resource Program Specialist

(Coordinating Project WET & DCNR's PA Land Choices Curriculum for PA State Parks)

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

Sign Up To Receive This E-Blast