2023 PA Wilds Climate Network Workshop meets in Johnsonburg

On March 28, about 45 people gathered in Johnsonburg for the 2023 PA Wilds Climate Network Workshop to discuss the impacts of climate change and how to start meaningful conversations about it within the Pennsylvania Wilds.

Hosted by the PA Wilds Planning Team (PWPT) and the Elk County Conservation District at the Johnsonburg Fire Company, the event kicked off with  a welcome from Matt Marusiak. Marusiak is a land protection manager for the Western PA Conservancy and chair of the PWPT’s Natural Resources Committee, which is organizing the PA Wilds Climate Network. 

“As a conservation professional, climate change touches everything I do but it can be overwhelming,” says Marusiak. “The PA Wilds Climate Network was created to be a learning network for resource managers, conservation professionals, county planners, and other stakeholders to share information and resources to help deal with the challenges and opportunities of a changing climate in the PA Wilds region.”

Attendees heard about climate change data and the impacts it will have on Pennsylvania from Greg Czarnecki, PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Director of Applied Climate Science. Czarnecki shared projections of how many days Pennsylvania might expect to experience days with snow or days with temperatures above 90 degrees Fahrenheit by 2050 and by 2090. This increasing average temperature, he says, could cause significant changes for wildlife, forests, crops, tourism and health.

Amy Shields from the Allegheny Hardwood Utilization Group presented information about how climate change ties into challenges (and opportunities) regarding our state, national and privately owned forests. Shields shared some potential misconceptions about forestry and how proper forest management can play a role in maintaining the health of our trees and the wildlife that live in those habitats.

The University of Pittsburgh Center for Learning and Out of School Experience led a discussion about tools for climate change conversations. Mary Ann Steiner and Krista White shared how they used “climate cards” to facilitate conversations at events like fairs and festivals, allowing for open dialogues and better outreach about the wide-reaching effects of climate change.

After a lunch from Katering by Kate, a Ridgway-based business, the workshop split into four breakout groups: Sustaining the PA Wilds Climate Network, Talking About Climate Change, Climate Change and Planning, and Climate Change and Resource Management. The groups brainstormed about concerns they had in each of these areas and ways to work more effectively together. 

Each breakout group then presented a brief report to the entire workshop to summarize their session. These reports, particularly those about the sustainability of the PA Wilds Climate Network, will inform how the network is organized long-term.

Are you interested in attending a future PA Wilds Climate Network Workshop or becoming a part of the PA Wilds Climate Network? Email Matt Marusiak at [email protected]



The Pennsylvania Wilds is a 13-county region that includes the counties of Cameron, Clarion, Clearfield, Clinton, Elk, Forest, Jefferson, Lycoming, McKean, Potter, Tioga, Warren, and northern Centre. The PA Wilds Center for Entrepreneurship, Inc., is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization whose mission is to integrate conservation and economic development in a way that inspires the communities of the Pennsylvania Wilds. The Center has been guided by the PA Wilds Planning Team, a group representing federal, state, and county government; tourism and cultural interests; education, economic development; and the private sector. The PA Wilds Center promotes the region as a premier outdoor recreation destination as a way to diversify local economies, inspire stewardship, attract investment, retain population and improve quality of life. The PA Wilds Center’s core programs seek to help businesses leverage the PA Wilds brand and connect with new market opportunities, including: the Wilds Cooperative of PA, a network of over 300 place-based businesses and organizations, and the PA Wilds Conservation Shop, a retail outlet primarily featuring products sourced from the WCO. For more information on the PA Wilds Center, visit www.PAWildsCenter.org. To learn more about the WCO, visit www.WildsCoPA.org. Explore the PA Wilds at www.pawilds.com. Find regionally made products at www.ShopThePAWilds.com




  1. Joshua Brock on April 18, 2023 at 2:39 pm

    Stellar to see! Congrats…glad to see a great crowd for this type of discussion. Looking forward to catching a future presentation. Continued best of luck!

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