Volume 3: December 2010

Davies Leader Draws Attention to Local Environmental Assets

written by Bennett Buchanan ’12

Bennett Buchanan outside of the French Creek Project/Pennsylvania Environmental Council's Regional Office on Chestnut Street in downtown Meadville

The Pennsylvania Environmental Council (PEC) is a non-profit organization that works to restore natural and man-made environments. As a Davies Leader and intern at the Northwest Regional office of PEC, my work during the summer involved a number of projects that promoted environmental awareness and protection. For example, I completed a tourist guide that highlights notable sites along French Creek, which I had begun in the previous semester. I also compiled safety regulations to include in a new map of French Creek. The map is being produced as a recreational guide for boaters and can be used as a way to increase awareness and draw attention to the unique diversity and assets of French Creek.

Over the summer I also became immersed in research and policy writing for the French Creek Valley Conservancy (FCVC), a non-profit corporation and land trust located in Meadville that protects land in the French Creek watershed area. As a land trust, the FCVC plans to apply for accreditation through the Land Trust Alliance, a nationwide organization that helps to direct land trusts and conservation efforts. My job involved choosing appropriate examples of land trust standards and practices and then adapting them to suit the FCVC.

I also spent time writing, photographing, designing and collaborating with the County Planning Office and the CEED office to create a Stormwater Best Management Practices booklet. The booklet highlights some of the best stormwater management systems in the Meadville area, and serves as a guide and educational tool to be used as part of a stormwater tour that was held at Allegheny College in late October. In the process of creating the booklet, I learned how water runoff affects streams and the various methods used to handle excess water in a responsible way. One of my collaborators on this project was Xi Lu ‘11, who developed the GIS map locating these important local projects.

Throughout the summer, I also worked on a number of public education projects. For instance, I created informational fact sheets on French Creek, and display signs about local foods to be installed at the Meadville Market House in the herb and vegetable planters.