First Lady Frances Wolf, along with Pennsylvania agencies and commissions, held a virtual celebration of Earth Day 2021 for middle and high school students today.
The theme, Protecting the Environment for All Pennsylvanians, honored the 50th anniversary of PA’s Green Amendment.
“We are pleased to present a program that honors the natural beauty of our commonwealth for Earth Day,” said First Lady Wolf. “Preserving the history that lies in Pennsylvania’s greenspaces, water, and air and advocating for clean environments for all residents remains a priority of this administration. Earth Day reminds us all just how vital a healthy environment is for everyone and encourages us to sustain it.”
Earth Day 2021 was inspired by the 50th anniversary of Article 1, Section 27, of the State Constitution, or Pennsylvania’s Green Amendment, which states that “the people have a right to clean air, pure water, and to the preservation of the natural, scenic, historic and esthetic values of the environment. Pennsylvania’s public natural resources are the common property of all the people, including generations yet to come. As trustee of these resources, the Commonwealth shall conserve and maintain them for the benefit of all the people.”
The event included learning activities from the Governor’s Residence, and the Pennsylvania departments of Environmental Protection (DEP), Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR), Education (PDE), General Services (DGS) and Agriculture (PDA), as well as the Game Commission.
DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell and DCNR Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn commented on the importance of Earth Day.
“Celebrating Earth Day and Pennsylvania’s commitment to a safe, healthy environment goes beyond just one day,” said Secretary McDonnell. “It is fighting climate change at the state and local level, improving our rivers and streams in collaboration with Pennsylvania’s farmers and local governments, and promoting environmental education programs throughout the year. Today and every day is a time to recognize the importance of our clean air, land, and water.”
“Earth Day is a time for awareness and action on the environmental rights guaranteed to us by the amendment to Pennsylvania’s Constitution,” said Secretary Adams Dunn. “Take an action to be a good steward of our commonwealth – plant a native tree, reduce your use of plastics, pick up trash, learn more about your carbon footprint, take a young person to a park or forest so they come to love the outdoors! Future generations will thank you.”
PDE Acting Secretary Noe Ortega highlighted the work of Pennsylvania schools in cultivating young environmental leaders.
“Our school communities are growing the next generation of environmental leaders who are taking action to protect our planet now and in the future,” said Acting Secretary Noe Ortega. “Our PA Pathways to Green Schools awards program, as well as the USDE’s Green Ribbon School award, recognize these outstanding teaching and learning experiences and promote environmental literacy and sustainability.”
The newest Green Ribbon School awardees will be announced today at 1 p.m. A list of awards can be found on the U.S. Department of Education’s website.
Also, First Lady Wolf and Residence Executive Chef Barry Crumlich announced a new partnership between the Governor’s Residence and Learning, Education, and Farming (LEAF).
LEAF is a youth organization whose mission is to “cultivate youth leaders from diverse backgrounds through meaningful work in the food system”.
Throughout the pandemic, LEAF has used their skills and network to provide food to communities in need and the produce from the Residence veggie garden will help the organization expand its effort to feed Pennsylvanians.
“To see young people so passionate about creating equality in this way is inspiring,” said First Lady Wolf. “LEAF is addressing food insecurity by using our natural resources, and it’s exciting to be able to assist them in their work.”
Pennsylvanians are encouraged to visit the 2021 Virtual Earth Day Exhibit Hall to continue engaging with Earth Day activities and organizations.