The Montour Environmental Education Center sits on a 965-acre preserve owned by Pennsylvania Power and Light (PPL), one of the largest utilities in Pennsylvania. The education center is a busy place, attracting more than 200,000 visitors to the Montour County preserve each year. It also serves 25 school districts in the surrounding area on a regular basis. The staff’s commitment to education is what makes the Center so popular for field trips.
“We have a naturalist on staff who will do a specific program for a school group based on what they’re learning. If they’re learning about birds of prey, that’s what [the naturalist] talks about,” said Kevin Drewencki, PPL-Montour Preserve superintendent.
Hands-on exhibits in the center focus on a wide range of topics and are directed toward multiple age groups. Displays include information about local wildlife like honeybees, fish, waterfowl, and birds of prey. Historical timelines and maps of Native American trails showcase the region’s cultural heritage.
The environmental education exhibits were made possible by an Environmental Stewardship Fund grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR).
“[The center] really provides a sound educational base for students from first grade to college,” said Drewencki. “Our educator workshops give teachers the opportunity to come and learn about the area and take that knowledge back to their classrooms.”
It’s not just school groups who can enjoy the preserve—the public is also welcome. Educational programs include lectures on butterflies, demonstrations on wilderness first aid, presentations on woodcraft skills, live music, and organized nature hikes.
“We can still preserve land while we produce electricity at the Montour plant two miles down the road,” Drewencki said of PPL’s commitment to conservation.
Montour County visitors and residents can enjoy the results of that commitment by taking advantage of recreational activities on the preserve, such as fishing, boating, hunting, picnicking, and hiking on 15 miles of trails.