Dark haired woman explaining ecology program to group of teenagers in the woods

Lacawac Sanctuary awakens the love of nature for students, community


Maybe it’s the quiet energy of the forest, or the song of the golden-winged warbler, or even the stillness of the pristine 52-acre glacial lake that appeals to the hundreds of visitors who come to Lacawac Sanctuary each year. No matter why they come, all visitors leave with a profound appreciation for nature and all its wonder.

“Lacawac Sanctuary has a great impact on the community and the counties around us,” said Craig Lukatch, president of Lacawac. “It’s a place where people come to enjoy and become one with nature, but they also learn how we can protect and sustain our environment, becoming good stewards of the earth.”

Situated on 550 acres in Northeast Pennsylvania, Lacawac Sanctuary’s mission is research, education, and preservation. To fulfill that mission, Lacawac offers environmental education and programs to the community and youths in grades pre-K through 12. It also serves as a field station for research on the environment and ecological issues such as climate change and water quality in collaboration with regional organizations and colleges and universities.

A grant from the PPL Foundation supports Lacawac’s Let Nature Teach program, which provides access for students in pre-K to 12th grade to experience hands-on field trips that they can’t get in the school setting. Lacawac’s environmental educators lead each class on trails through diverse habitats as students participate in activities such as forest ecology and water conservation.

Kristie McClure, who teaches AP Biology at Western Wayne High School, said the program enhances the classroom curriculum by putting scientific theories to practical use.

“The program we chose is forest ecology. It’s one thing to learn about trees and soil and use the dichotomous key in the classroom, but when the students come out here and actually measure trees and spend time learning about the different areas of the forest and how the entire ecosystem is impacted by changes in the forest – that’s really an enriching experience,” said McClure.

Fostering a love of the outdoors and an interest in nature is what Lacawac environmental educator Jamie Reeger thinks contributes to a sustainable future.

“I think it’s really important that we connect our youth to the outdoors. As they become adults, that connection to the outdoors allows them to make decisions for our future, and for their future, with the environment in mind,” said Reeger.

PPL shares Lacawac’s commitment to high quality education and specifically hands-on STEM education and is proud to support Lacawac’s work.

“Lacawac is a true gem in Northeast Pennsylvania,” said Alana Roberts, regional affairs director at PPL Electric Utilities. “This is a place where you fall in love with science.”

January 8, 2019

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