WHAT: The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy (WPC) will host an open house at its new field office, called the Northwest Regional Office, located in downtown Franklin, Pa. and WPC members and the public are invited to attend. The public will have opportunities to meet WPC staff and board members, while learning more about the Conservancy’s work and volunteer opportunities in the region. This event is free and open to the public, and light refreshments will be served.

WHEN: Friday, September 16, 2016
The open house will be held from 3:30-6 p.m., with a 20-minute presentation led by WPC President and CEO Tom Saunders at 4:30 p.m.

WHERE: Galena Building, 1140 Liberty Street, Franklin, PA 16323
WPC’s new office is located in suite 100 of the historic Galena Building in downtown Franklin next to Bandstand Park. For this event, a limited number of free parking spaces are available in rear of the building, with metered parking along Liberty Street.

WHO: Conservancy staff and board members will be available to greet other community members and answer questions.

WHY: The new field office is accessible to local residents to learn more about land protection projects and conservation opportunities within Northwestern Pennsylvania communities, while providing WPC with closer access to regional projects and sites for land stewardship and other field activities. Current office hours are Mondays and Fridays, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and by appointment on other weekdays. Starting October 1 through mid-April, the office will be staffed most weekdays during those hours by Meadville resident and WPC’s land stewardship coordinator for the Northwest region, Tyson Johnston. The public can contact the office at 814-346-0377 or northwest@paconserve.org.

This new office serves as a hub for the Conservancy’s efforts in the region, where WPC has a longstanding history of conservation, protecting more than 40,000 acres of land to date. That history includes working with partners to protect land within the French Creek watershed, one of the most ecologically significant waterways in the Northeastern U.S. that contains numerous fish species of greatest conservation need in Pennsylvania, 26 rare and federally endangered freshwater mussel species, and the eastern hellbender salamander.

WPC is furthering regional water quality efforts by conducting stream bank stabilization and in-stream habitat improvements along Tionesta Creek and the northeastern sections of the Allegheny River. Plus, several riparian tree and vegetative plantings are helping to protect and restore these waterways. And, thanks to dedicated volunteers, Franklin, Oil City, Meadville and Erie are brightened by the Conservancy’s colorful community flower gardens.

The office location supports WPC’s commitment to protecting natural and ecologically important areas in Northwestern Pennsylvania, as well as ongoing stewardship and enhancements to local natural areas, including providing ADA-accessible docks and other improvements at Lake Pleasant Conservation Area in Erie County. The Conservancy also has an Allegheny Regional Office located in Ridgway, Pa. that has been serving northern and northwest communities since 2006.

Media representatives and attendees will learn more and see an interactive map and display of WPC’s land protection, watershed and community garden projects, as well as its other work and initiatives in the region. Media interview opportunities will be provided upon request.

About the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy:
The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy (WPC) protects and restores exceptional places. A private nonprofit conservation organization founded in 1932, WPC has helped to establish ten state parks, conserved more than a quarter million acres of natural lands and protected or restored more than 3,000 miles of rivers and streams. The Conservancy owns and operates Fallingwater, which symbolizes people living in harmony with nature. In addition, WPC enriches our region’s cities and towns through 130 community gardens and other green spaces that are planted with the help of about 12,000 volunteers. The work of the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy is accomplished through the support of more than 10,000 members. For more information, visit WaterLandLife.org.