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

Pictured left to right: Jim Struzzi (PPFF Board Member) and Don Horn.
Pictured left to right: Jim Struzzi (PPFF Board Member) and Don Horn.
(Camp Hill, PA) – The Pennsylvania Parks and Forests Foundation (PPFF) held its 15 th 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,

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