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Friends of Michaux State Forest Wins 2024 Pennsylvania Parks and Forests Foundation Award

The Pennsylvania Parks and Forests Foundation (PPFF) held its 15th Annual Awards Banquet and celebrated 13 award recipients for their outstanding stewardship of Pennsylvania’s state park and state forest system. The event was held at Little Buffalo State Park in Newport, PA on May 14, 2024. The winner of the 2024 Improvement Award (Group), sponsored by an anonymous benefactor, is the Friends of Michaux State Forest.

The annual event brought together individuals, businesses, and organizations from across the state, including Cindy Adams Dunn, Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR).

“There are thousands of people who help make Pennsylvania state parks and forests wonderful places to visit and I am always excited to celebrate their work,” DCNR Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn said. “Thank you to the Pennsylvania Parks and Forests Foundation for being a great partner and prioritizing these awards to help honor the exemplary people whose work supports public lands.”

The Friends of Michaux State Forest support diverse recreational activities like hiking, mountain biking, climbing, paddling, horseback riding, and ATV use. They offer various volunteer opportunities and partnerships, including a trail stewardship program, regular workdays, and events to connect people with the forest. Their trailer full of tools supports groups like the South-Central PA Climbers and the Susquehanna Area Mountain Bikers Association, ensuring everyone can contribute.

Trained in Leave No Trace principles, members frequently present LNT programming for school groups. Recently, the Friends celebrated their five-year anniversary with a fundraising dinner, highlighting their accomplishments.

“The annual banquet provides not only an opportunity to celebrate Pennsylvania’s state parks and forests, but organizations, individuals and businesses that are committed to conservation and recreational opportunities,” said Marci Mowery, President of the Pennsylvania Parks and Forests Foundation. “We applaud their hard work and dedication to creating a Pennsylvania that is a better place to live, work and play.”

“Additionally, I would like to thank the sponsors that made the banquet possible. Their support makes the annual celebration a reality. Visit the Foundation’s website at to see the banquet program and full list of sponsors.”

The event also held a silent auction where the proceeds will go towards funding accessible equipment and opportunities in PA state parks and forests to help ensure outdoor access for everyone.

Other 2024 PPFF Award Winners:

  • Cliff Jones Keystone Legacy Award: Pennsylvania Forestry Association
  • Joseph E. Ibberson Government Award: Wayne Kober
  • President’s Award: Purple Lizard Maps
  • Chair’s Award: Barbara Barksdale
  • Forest of the Year Award: William Penn State Forest
  • Park of the Year Award: Neshaminy State Park
  • Volunteerism Award (Individual): Margarita Caicedo
  • Volunteerism Award (Group): Lackawanna State Park Trail Care Crew
  • Education Award (Individual): Mike Teeter
  • Education Award (Group): French and Indian War Officer’s Corps
  • Improvement Award (Individual): Gary Kirk
  • Improvement Award (Group): Friends of Michaux
  • Young Volunteer Award: Hung Pham
  • About the Pennsylvania Parks and Forests Foundation

Founded in 1999, the Pennsylvania Parks and Forests Foundation supports 124 state parks and 2.2 million acres of forest by coordinating volunteers, activities, and donations through its 40+ chapters. The foundation’s mission is to inspire stewardship of Pennsylvania’s state parks and forests through public engagement in volunteerism, recreation, and conservation. To learn more about PPFF visit,


Tammy Annette Robinson 1964-2024

For the past years, Tammy helped take care of her mother. She enjoyed watching game shows and listening to contemporary Christian music.

Robert William Gordon 1947-2024

Born August 18, 1947, a son of the late Merrill R. and Goldie E. Kotzmoyer Gordon, Bob liked to hunt and fish, and loved spending time with his family.

Janice Mae Keller 1938-2024

Janice always enjoyed shopping trips with her children and always used that opportunity to stop at her favorite restaurant, Olive Garden.

Ethel R. Smith 1935-2024

Ethel was a very loving and caring woman. She will always be remembered and cherished as a loving wife, mother, grandmother, and friend.

Sharon M. Matthews 1951-2024

Sharon enjoyed game shows on TV, mostly Wheel of Fortune. She also liked watching the Food Network and talk about what they made.

Ralph V. Foltz 1928-2024

Ralph enjoyed hunting, telling stories, and traveling around the United States on bus trips, alongside his wife Lois.

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