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Shale Gas Industry Funds


Conservation Education at Elk Country Visitor Center


comes from the private sector—and a significant portion of that support comes from the shale gas industry.


T of


Midstream companies are active KECA supporters and partic- ularly interested in working with KECA to restore and improve sites where pipeline placement has occurred. For example, through our Fueling Habitat Improvement program now in de- velopment, KECA will help utilities and other midstream com- panies with habitat enhancement across miles of rights-of-way.


Our experts will provide technical assistance for re-vegetation with highly nutritious forage so that elk and other wildlife will be attracted to use power line and gas line rights-of-way as travel corridors. These efforts will assure that disturbance to wildlife will be minimized during midstream operations. Each program participant will receive KECA’s Fueling Habitat Improvement seal.


Much of the current excitement and anticipation at the Elk Country Visitor Center surrounds the construction of our new Outdoor Education Classroom. Yes, we’re building a new out- door classroom because we have outgrown the existing facility.


Last year, more than 350,000 visitors came to the visi- tor center to learn about Pennsylvania’s Elk Country. Conservation education is our number one mission priority. Our conservation education programs, which are aligned with Pennsylvania’s Department


Education standards,


are engaging, age specific and cross curricular.


Companies such as Dominion, Chesapeake, Range Resources, Shell Appalachia, EQT, EOG, Anadarko, Seneca Resources, Snyder


Associated Compa-


nies, Inc. and other partners have provided much needed funding to support our con- servation education programs. The industry also has funded our Distance Learning Program, which uses the Internet (via Skype) to take our conservation education programs to any school in the state, in the region, in the country—to anywhere in the world. With funding from the shale


he Keystone Elk Country Alliance (KECA) is a leader in conservation education, operating the Elk Country Visitor Center in Benezette, PA in partnership with Pennsylvania’s Depart- ment of Conservation and Natural Resources. KECA receives no state or federal funds to operate the center. Rather, important funding


ON THE COVER


By Rawley Cogan, President & CEO,


Keystone Elk Country Alliance


industry, KECA has completed distance learning programs in 19 Pennsylvania counties serving more than 1,100 students. We have taught nearly 20,000 students and guests in a struc- tured KECA program at the Elk Center. Thank you to our part- ners like Shell Appalachia, Dominion and Safari Club Interna- tional for your support in funding our distance learning program.


Our new, multipurpose, 40 x 80 building will help accommo- date the increasing number of guests visiting the Elk Center. Since opening in September 2010, the center has attracted approximately 800,000 guests. Able to comfortably seat 150 people simultaneously, the new building will be the perfect edu- cational facility to teach the large groups of students who at- tend for educational field trips. Entire grade levels of classes can be subdivided into several smaller learning stations that can be taught concurrently without undue crowding or distrac- tions that can negate the overall educational quality of the field trip experience.


This amazing facility, which structurally and aesthetically complements the existing Elk Country Visitor Center Campus, will also be the perfect place to host large bus tours, dinners, weddings, reunions, and any type or size of civic or business meeting. Our exciting new building will align with KECA’s LEED building philosophy by incorporating many “green” features, such as water and energy efficiency. Use of natural daylight and ventilation, a biomass boiler and radiant floor heating are just a few of the construction features which will provide this building with the potential to attain a LEED Silver Rating.


Students and other guests will enjoy spacious seating, a stone fireplace and a beautiful wood interior with heated floors. There will also be a large outdoor gathering area, adjacent to the fireplace, which will be used for educational pro- grams. This one-of-a-kind Outdoor Education Classroom will serve as a valuable asset in hosting social gatherings and, more im- portantly, in teaching vital conservation education lessons. It will be available to large societal cross-sections of students and visitors.


This year, we expect to welcome our 1 millionth guest to the Elk Country Visitor Center. We are anxiously anticipating this much needed ad- dition to our campus, and we wel- come additional partnerships to help us reach the finish line of our capital campaign.


Watch for our “Outdoor Education Classroom Grand Opening” this fall.


Marcellus Quarterly 2014 13


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