December 18, 2013 —
Holiday shoppers who desire to make a difference can still do so with some of the following gift options. Support state parks, forests and environmental organizations that play important roles in maintaining regional biodiversity, protecting natural resources and promoting outdoor recreation by checking out these opportunities.
Fans of Pennsylvania’s 120 state parks can lend support by purchasing the PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) new 2014 calendar featuring state park seasonal scenes. The 10-inch by 13-inch calendar costs $8.49, plus sales tax and shipping, and can be ordered by calling 888/PAPARKS. To preview the calendar, visit www.dcnr.state.pa.us/stateparks/thingstoknow/calendar .
Give others the chance to reconnect with nature by purchasing gift cards that may be used to rent campsites, cabins and pavilions in PA parks. To order visit www.dcnr.state.pa.us/stateparks/thingstoknow/giftcard/index.htm .
Consider a gift that supports the non-profit PA Parks and Forests Foundation (PPFF) (www.paparksandforests.org ), which focuses on conservation and environmental programming. Shop at PPFF’s online store for items like a 135-page passport featuring maps, a history of the state park and forest system and descriptions of each park and forest.
Put the PA Wild Resource Conservation Program (WRCP), which has worked to conserve the state’s rare species and habitats since 1982, on your gift list. Download a free 2014 WRCP calendar at www.dcnr.state.pa.us/cs/groups/public/documents/document/dcnr_20028368.pdf , then express your gratitude by calling 717/787-3212 to make a tax-free donation or mailing a check to: WRCP, P.O. Box 8764, Harrisburg, PA 17105. Visit www.dcnr.state.pa.us/conservationscience/wrcp/index.htm  to learn more about the WRCP.
And for bird lovers, here are some great gift ideas from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, which help to support that great organization (blog.allaboutbirds.org/2013/11/25/our-list-of-holiday-gift-ideas-will-help-you-and-help-the-birds/).
While by no means an exhaustive list, here are a few local environmentally-focused non-profit organizations highly deserving of support this season: Delaware Highlands Conservancy (www.delawarehighlands.org ), Delaware Valley Raptor Center (www.dvrconline.org ), the local chapter of Audubon (www.nepaaudubon.org ), Lacawac Sanctuary (www.lacawac.org ) and the Pocono Environmental Education Center (www.peec.org ).
In addition to financial support, please remember that volunteering is a gift that is always appreciated, and one that often rewards the giver as well.