I Love My State Parks Week In PA – May 8-15

I Love My State Parks Week In PA – May 8-15

With the goal of showcasing all that PA’s 121 state parks and 20 forest districts have to offer, the Pennsylvania Parks and Forests Foundation is participating in the inaugural I Love My State Parks Week, a campaign hosted by the National Association of State Parks Foundations (NASPF) May 8-15th.

The United States boasts more than 8,500 state parks and forests covering 18.6 million acres with 52,600 miles of trails. Along with these beloved natural areas comes an army of Friends groups and fellow volunteers dedicated to caring for them. NASPF was formed by the leadership of park foundations, including PPFF which serves as an umbrella organization to nearly 50 volunteer chapters throughout Pennsylvania. These foundations joined forces seeking to support one another, along with the vast networks of volunteers, in an effort to provide a national voice and advocate for all state parks. NASPF works to connect, build, elevate, and empower the statewide non-profit partners of America’s state parks and one effort toward this goal is I Love My State Parks Week.

Kicking off on Mother’s Day, I Love My State Parks Week aims to increase the visibility of state parks and raise awareness about their many benefits, engage new audiences and promote access, and connect with the public through personal testimonials, storytelling, and photos showing why these spaces are so important. With daily themes and a ready-to-go social media toolkit, NASPF encourages all members, state parks foundations, friends’ groups, state park agencies, and partners to share and amplify the I Love My State Parks Week content on their own social platforms to increase engagement.

You can participate by showing your love for PA’s state parks by sharing your outdoor adventures, photos, and special memories on social media, tag PPFF, and use the hashtags #ILoveMyStateParks, #ILoveMyStateParksWeek, #ILovePAStateParks, and #NASPF.

Concurrently, I Love My State Parks Week is one of several special outdoor holidays being celebrated throughout the year in PPFF’s new #GetMovingPA effort that calls for park and forest visitors and volunteers to share video footage of their adventures and volunteerism in PA’s parks and forests on social media. Learn more at https://paparksandforests.org/news/getmovingpa/.

Stay connected and learn about I Love My State Parks Week events with the Pennsylvania Parks and Forests Foundation and our Friends Groups throughout the state by signing up to receive PPFF’s weekly Take Five e-blasts and by following us on social media.


The Pennsylvania Parks and Forests Foundation
Ensuring a place and an experience for everyone in the outdoors!
The Pennsylvania Parks and Forests Foundation supports 121 state parks and 2.2 million acres of forest by coordinating volunteers, activities, and donations through its 48 chapters. The mission of the foundation is to inspire stewardship of Pennsylvania’s state parks and forests. To learn more about PPFF, visit https://paparksandforests.org/.

230th Thaddeus Stevens Birthday Celebration Comes To Caledonia

230th Thaddeus Stevens Birthday Celebration Comes To Caledonia

The new tribute to Thaddeus Stevens is a bronze statue called Men in Pursuit of Justice Must Never Despair.  It is a quote of Stevens. The statue shows 6-ft. tall Stevens’ clutching a copy of the 14th Amendment, one of his greatest achievements. The base of the statue is shaped like Pennsylvania. A celebration is slated for April 1, 2, and 3.

The Thaddeus Stevens Society launched a fundraising effort in 2015 to raise $55,000 for the statue. By 2018 the Society had amassed pledges of $15,500. A lifetime member and lifelong admirer of Stevens, Michael Charney, offered to pay the remaining $39,500, making the statue possible.

The Celebration at Caledonia State Park

Sunday, April 3, Events at Caledonia State Park, at Rt. 30 and Rt. 233, near Chambersburg, PA in the main office conference room.

10 a.m. to noon — Economist William A. Darity of Duke University, author of From Here to Equality, Reparations for Black Americans in the Twenty-First Century, will talk about Stevens and reparations. A. Kirsten Mullen, co-author of From Here to Equality and a folklorist and founder of Artefactual, an arts-consulting practice, will  also present “Finishing the job, Thaddeus Stevens and the true Radical Republicans started,” examining the material basis for black Americans’ full citizen rights which he and Sen. Charles Sumner and abolitionist Wendel Phiillips  recommended consistently from 1861 to 1866 — Free, light lunch will be served

1 p.m. — 3 p.m. — Thaddeus Stevens Society business meeting and tour of park’s blacksmith shop



SOAR (“Studying Ornithology Around the Region”) bird walks
IMPORTANT: Locations rotate year-round among several parks in the region, with Waynesboro’s Antietam Meadow Park as “home base.”
See monthly schedule for 2022, below.
(If in doubt about the weather— check The Institute’s Facebook page)
First and third Saturdays ONLY – Start time: 8:00 a.m. 
January: Antietam Meadow Park (meet in parking lot)
February: Carroll Valley Community Park – 5685 Fairfield Rd, Carroll Valley—across Fairfield Rd (PA 116) from Liberty Mountain Ski Resort. Meet in front of Borough Bldg/Library
March: Caledonia State Park (meet at park office)
April: Pine Hill Recreation Area (meet in parking lot)
May: Conococheague Institute (meet at visitor center)
June: Gettysburg National Battlefield (meet at Virginia monument) [To be confirmed]
July: Strawberry Hill Nature Preserve (meet in parking lot)
August: Antietam Meadow Park (meet in parking lot)
September: Caledonia State Park (meet at park office)
October: Renfrew Park (meet in lower parking lot off Welty Rd.)
November: Conococheague Institute (meet at visitor center)
December: Antietam Meadow Park (meet in parking lot)
First and third Saturday spring, summer, fall and winter bird walks find birding enthusiasts Sharon and Larry Williams of Waynesboro leading the walks along the hiking trails at varying locations throughout the area.
Participants should wear comfortable walking shoes and may bring identification books and binoculars. Free and open to the public. Just show up—no reservations required!
For more information call 717-762-0373 or email us at info@NatureAndCultureInstitute.org.
Thaddeus Stevens Society Raises Funds For Stevens Statue

Thaddeus Stevens Society Raises Funds For Stevens Statue

The Thaddeus Stevens Society has contracted with Alex Paul Loza of Chattanooga, TN to sculpt a statue of Thaddeus Stevens, one of the greatest statesmen in United States history.

Stevens, who lived from 1792 to 1868, was the most powerful congressman during and after the Civil War and was instrumental in freeing the slaves and then trying to protect them after the war. He is also the father of the 14th Amendment, the single most important Constitutional amendment requiring equal treatment under the law and extending civil liberties to the state level.

“This is a giant step in honoring a man who did so much for the state of Pennsylvania and the nation,” said Ross Hetrick, president of the Stevens Society. “The statue will be a magnificent work capturing the spirit of the Great Commoner.” he said.

The $55,000, 6-foot bronze statue is expected to be completed in late 2021 or early 2022, in time for its dedication in April 2022, which will also mark the 230th birthday of Stevens. When completed, the sculpture will be only the second Stevens statue in existence. The first statue is at the Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology in Lancaster.  The Stevens Society is currently investigating various locations for the statue in Gettysburg.

“My goal with the monument is to highlight Stevens’s determination and never-ending stance to fight for the less fortunate,” said sculptor Loza. “To visually and emotionally communicate this message I decided to place his body weight on his club foot and walking stick while his right foot is set to take another step forward. His left hand clings to his cane to reinforce his drive to always move onward, while the other hand is very close to his heart protecting and holding his legacy, the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments.” he said.

Loza, 41, is a native of Lima, Peru, and has lived in Tennessee since August 2010. A graduate of the American Academy of Art in Chicago, he has 20 years of experience in using clay and paint to immortalize people and their stories. His goal is to bring diverse communities together and reveal theprofound inter-connectedness of all people. He was selected as the sculptor after a nation-wide search that involved 20 submissions.

Franklin County connects to Thaddeus Stevens through the Caledonia Ironworks, now Caledonia State Park. The Franklin County Visitors Bureau worked with research historian Randy Harris on a successful application to the National Park Service to designated Caledonia as a NPS Network to Freedom site. More information on Thaddeus Stevens and the South Mountain Underground Railroad activity can be viewed here.

Totem Pole Playhouse, America’s summer theatre, located in Caledonia State Park between Gettysburg and Chambersburg, PA has announced the second installment of the Playhouse’s new Friday FUN Nights! series, a special “sing-along” screening of the Academy Award-nominated movie musical Annie starring Carol Burnett. Tickets for the screening are $10 for children (15 and under) and $15 for adults which will include a bag of popcorn, a soft drink and a box a candy with each admission. In addition, the Playhouse welcomes those attending to dress-up as a character from the classic musical and prizes will be awarded for the Best Child and Best Adult Costume.

The special screening is made possible by an arrangement with Swank Pictures in St. Louis, MO. The screening at Totem Pole will have the lyrics for all of the songs scrolling across the bottom of the screen for the audience to be able to sing-along if they chose to.

Annie released in 1982 is the film version of the Broadway Tony Award-winning Best Musical of the same name by Charles Strouse, Martin Charnin and Thomas Meehan, which in turn is based on the Little Orphan Annie comic strip created by Harold Gray. The movie stars Albert Finney, Carol Burnett, Tim Curry, Bernadette Peters, and Aileen Quinn as the title character.

Set during the Great Depression in 1933, the film tells the story of Annie, an orphan from New York City who is taken in by America’s richest billionaire Oliver Warbucks.

The next “Friday FUN Nights” will be on July 19th, a solo concert, Always Find a Song, by acclaimed cabaret artist Barbi McCulloch, who has appeared at concert venues around the world including the prestigious Carnegie Hall in New York. Reserved seats for the special one-night only concert will be $20 in advance and $25 at the Door the night of the show. There will also be several local food trucks and vendors serving meals and dessert ahead of the 8pm show.

Closing out the series will be a special sing-along screening of the box office record-breaking musical Grease starring Olivia Newton John and John Travolta on Friday, July 26th.

The Totem Pole Playhouse Box Office is open Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sat & Sun. 11am to 5pm; opened until 9pm on performance nights.