Back in the 17th century, state founder William Penn enacted Pennsylvania’s first conservation law, requiring that for every five acres of land cleared one acre of trees must be preserved. To mark the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day, let’s celebrate the next generation carrying on Pennsylvania’s rich conservation legacy. Meet five fresh young citizens playing significant roles in resource management, wilderness preservation, and environmental protection.
Thanks to its early industrial prowess, Pennsylvania is filled with railroad tracks, many of them now ready to transition to serve new purposes. The state currently boasts 183 rail trails — mixed-use recreation paths fashioned from former lines — which add up to 1,910 miles. These paths have practical value as transportation thoroughfares and recreation spaces, but also intangible value as points of pride and connection. Here’s a spotlight on one specific PA rail trail and how it boosts the local community.
Industrial hemp production was legalized by the 2018 Farm Bill, and since then more than 300 Pennsylvania farmers have obtained permits to grow the crop. For many, hemp represents hope, not only for reviving small farms, but for creating a new business sector and even combatting climate change.
It’s estimated that 4.1% of Pennsylvania residents — that’s about 416,484 people — identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (Williams Institute, 2019). The majority of them are under 40. They include many vibrant young leaders, working to make things better for their communities and our state.
The Great Wall of China. The Acropolis in Athens. Stonehenge. They’re all United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage sites. Now Fallingwater in Mill Run, PA, has joined the elite list. Frank Lloyd Wright’s gravity-defying house, cantilevered over a waterfall at Bear Run, 67 miles southeast of Pittsburgh, was recognized by UNESCO in July 2019 (along with seven other Wright buildings in the U.S.). It is only the second World Heritage site in Pennsylvania, joining Independence Hall in Philadelphia.
Pennsylvania is filled with iconic reuse projects — Reading Terminal Market in Philadelphia, GoggleWorks in Reading, the Pajama Factory in Williamsport — but the work of repurposing the state’s historic and industrial buildings comes in all shapes and sizes. Here’s a list of inspiring architectural reinventions from across the state. Next time you’re on a PA road trip, add them to your must-see list.
Jason Forrester grew up on a farm in Chambersburg, PA. The family originally grew a variety of vegetables, but like many peers, transitioned to planting mostly corn and wheat. After his father passed, Forrester elected to forgo those 2,500 acres and buy his own piece of land. He began by cultivating conventional crops alongside a tractor-selling business, but he was disappointed with the results from using pesticides. Then a neighbor asked him to consider growing organic feed to supply their dairy cows.