DCNR grant funding opens for 2023 conservation projects | Five for the Weekend

Applications for DCNR’s Community Conservation Partnership grants are open until April 5

By: - January 28, 2023 6:30 am

(C) Sandra Burm – Stock.Adobe.com

Happy weekend, all. 

The Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) announced a new round of grant funding for recreation and conservation projects across the Commonwealth.

Applications for DCNR’s 2023 Community Conservation Partnership grants opened this week for conservation and recreation projects across Pennsylvania and will remain active until Wed., April 5.

“Each year, DCNR grants have a tremendous impact in helping communities with local park acquisition and improvements, trails and river access,” DCNR Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn said. “Our agency strives to assist worthy projects across the commonwealth to help promote conservation, recreation and positive stewardship of our beautiful natural resources. We encourage municipalities, nonprofits and community organizations to apply for this year’s round of grants and look forward to reviewing new proposals.”

The grants fund planning, acquisition, and development of:

  • Public parks
  • Recreation areas
  • Motorized and non-motorized trails
  • River conservation and access
  • Community and riparian tree planting
  • Open space conservation
  • Regional and statewide partnerships to better develop and manage resources

Last year, the program awarded approximately $90 million to more than 330 local and community projects statewide, according to the department.

As always, the top five stories from this week are below.

Gisele Fetterman at the Free Store’s birthday party in November 2022 (Photo courtesy of Gisele Fetterman).

1. Gisele Fetterman meant the Free Store to be a five-year project. It’s now 10 years old

When Gisele Barreto Fetterman started the Free Store 15104 in Braddock back in 2012, she wanted to figure out a way to get discarded goods to people who needed them, to try to eradicate food and clothing insecurity in one of western Pennsylvania’s poorest communities.

“The goal was that it was going to be a five-year project,” she told the Capital-Star. “I wanted to show that we could invest in the circular economy, and this is a model that can exist in any community.”

Set in two colorfully-painted shipping containers in a lot on Braddock’s main street the Free Store is stocked with donated goods, from food to clothing to home goods, and everything is free for anyone who needs it. It began with items from Fetterman’s own closet, and grew to take in donations from across  Allegheny county.

Gov. Josh Shapiro and Lt. Gov. Austin Davis host a ceremony to sign their administration’s first executive order on Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2023, at the Capitol in Harrisburg. (Capital-Star photo by Marley Parish)

2. In his first executive order, Shapiro removes degree requirement for thousands of state jobs

On his first full day in office, Gov. Josh Shapiro, a Democrat, signed his first executive order, removing a four-year degree requirement for tens of thousands of state government jobs.

Shapiro — who took the oath of office on Tuesday with Lt. Gov. Austin Davis — said the order applies to 92% of commonwealth jobs, estimating that roughly 65,000 positions in the state will be open to Pennsylvanians regardless of whether they hold a college degree.

“In Pennsylvania, the people should decide what path is best for them, not have it decided by some arbitrary requirement or any arbitrary limitation,” Shapiro said during a public signing ceremony on Wednesday.

One of Pittsburghs famed yellow bridges (Brookings Institution image).
One of Pittsburghs famed yellow bridges (Brookings Institution image).

3. Pittsburgh historian Virginia Montanez maps out artifacts of the city’s past

Virginia Montanez was visiting the Children’s Museum in Pittsburgh with her daughter recently, when she noticed stone statues she had not really paid attention to in the past.

“There were all of these keystones with faces in them,” she said, “and I had never bothered to really look at them.” There was a worn little plaque that said the stones had come from an old post office building that used to be on the site, on Pittsburgh’s North Side, which Montanez remembered.

The Union League building on South Broad Street in Philadelphia (VisitPhiladelphia/The Philadelphia Tribune).
The Union League building on South Broad Street in Philadelphia (Photo via VisitPhiladelpha/The Philadelphia Tribune).

4. Protest set for Philly Union League event honoring Florida Gov. DeSantis

In response to the Union League of Philadelphia’s event honoring embattled Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a number of the city’s political leaders and advocacy groups are planning to hold a news conference and protest denouncing the move.

The “Fight Against Anti-Blackness Protest and Press Conference” is set to be held in front of the Union League’s headquarters in Center City on Tuesday, with the news conference planned for noon and the protest scheduled to begin at 4 p.m.

The event will be taking place on the same day as the Union League’s own sold-out event, where reportedly hundreds of its members and guests will be in attendance to see DeSantis receive the League’s highest honor, the Gold Award.

Close up of a doctor hand with blue glove giving support and love to a patient at hospital. Coronavirus pandemic concept.
(Getty Images)

5. UPMC has grown too big; Pa. lawmakers need to support its workers, new report finds

new report from the American Economic Liberties Project, an anti-monopoly nonprofit organization, finds that hospital network UPMC expanded at a breakneck pace that has left its facilities understaffed, and given it “monopoly power” that drives wages lower for workers across the western Pennsylvania market.

“Critical Condition: How UPMC’s Monopoly Power Harms Workers and Patients,” was released with U.S. Rep. Summer Lee, D-12th District, and state Rep. Sara Innamorato, D-Allegheny, co-conveners of the Pittsburgh Hospital Workers Taskforce.

And that’s the week. We’ll see you back here next week.

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Cassie Miller
Cassie Miller

A native Pennsylvanian, Cassie Miller worked for various publications across the Midstate before joining the team at the Pennsylvania Capital-Star. In her previous roles, she has covered everything from local sports to the financial services industry.