Celebrating our Partners: Visitors and the PA Wilds Center Team
Our final Great Outdoors Month gratitude post goes to our visitors, and to the dedicated Board, staff and core contractors who support the PA Wilds effort, day in and day out.
A longtime contributor to the PA Wilds, Jan Hampton, once described the PA Wilds effort as “a gentle sharing of the things we hold most dear.” Jan hailed from Cameron County, the least-populated county in Pennsylvania. She passed away in 2017, but I think of her words often because they reflect the stewardship ethic that I think runs through so many of us involved in the growing rural PA’s outdoor recreation economy.
We want growth and positive change for our rural communities, and we want and need to do it in a sustainable way, to be good stewards of our natural assets and rural way of life, the things we hold most dear.
To the millions of visitors to the PA Wilds who value that, who are participating in this journey with us by experiencing our special places and outdoor activities, by being good stewards of them, by supporting locally-owned rural businesses and makers while you are here, by sharing your pictures on our Instagram feed and your love for our region on our Facebook page, we thank you. YOU are an important investor in our work!
Pulling back the curtain, I also want to use this last gratitude post to thank my incredible team at the PA Wilds Center, who lives our mission of marrying conservation and economic development to strengthen and inspire communities in the PA Wilds, daily.
The PA Wilds Center would not be where it is today without our dedicated Board of Directors, and our founding CFO, Julie Iaquinto, and founding COO, Abbi Peters, and the incredible teams these two women have built.
Click here to learn more about our team!
Those teams include talented staff and also core contractors like Candi Hand at the Potter County Education Council, who year after year has provided logistical support for our stakeholder meetings and awards dinner; Elk County Council on the Arts providing day-to-day customer support for our Wilds Cooperative of PA (WCO) network; Stephanie Distler providing WCO engagement support; PA-based MakerPlace Inc. helping us develop our online marketplace, ShopthePAwilds.com; Hello Social, who has helped us build our social media following; our website developers Three29Designs and Graphic Hive; and the stable of talented WildSPEAK contributors who continue to tell the authentic story of our region on our platforms.
It takes a special group to found, structure, fund and build a regional nonprofit dedicated to advancing generational, transformational work in a distressed rural landscape. Things can be up one minute, and down the next, but the true north is always there with this team, and it keeps forging ahead. As one former Board and Planning Team member put it, “there is almost a spiritual commitment to the work.”
For all you do, PA Wilds Center team, thank you! You have my gratitude and respect.
About the Series:
To celebrate June being Great Outdoors Month, we are highlighting partners throughout June who are helping grow the outdoor recreation economy here in the PA Wilds to help revitalize rural communities. Our 13-county region is the only outdoor rec industry cluster to make it to the final round of the national Build Back Better Regional Challenge competition, where we are now competing for $50M in federal investment from the US Economic Development Administration. We couldn’t have made it this far without our incredible partners!
Learn more about the PA Wilds and the BBBRC competition here.
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