Browsing articles in "McKeever Center News"

McKeever Update

Dec 9, 2012   //   by McKeever Center   //   Blog, Events, McKeever Center News, School Programs  //  1 Comment

Research on the SunshipTM Earth Program

Nancy Bires, a 26-year veteran teacher in the Hermitage School District and doctoral candidate at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, is conducting a study on the long-term influence of the Earth Education program, SunshipTM Earth on environmental attitudes and actions. The topic for her dissertation is of great interest to her since she did her student teaching at McKeever in 1981, the first year the center offered the Sunship Earth program. Sixth grade students from the Delahunty Middle School in Hermitage began participating in the program in 1981. Read more >>

Message From McKeever

Jun 26, 2012   //   by McKeever Center   //   Blog, McKeever Center News  //  No Comments

Friends of McKeever,

I want to take this opportunity to update you on what’s happening at the McKeever Center.

1. McKeever’s Website – I want to thank you for your patience as we move towards providing Hemlock Pathways as an electronic newsletter. We removed your name from our postal mailing list. You will be the first ever to receive Hemlock Pathways as an online newsletter. If you happen to receive a hard copy of the Spring 2012 newsletter, it is because we had a difficult time figuring out who to remove from only an email address. When you signed up for the online newsletter, we did not ask for your name, only your email address. Therefore, we are having trouble matching the email address with the postal mailing address. If you happen to receive a hard copy in the mail, to correct this, you can simply drop us an email with your name and we will make sure to remove you from our postal mailing address.

Our website was developed by Greg Barker, a former SRU student. Greg shares a passion for McKeever and provides us with technical assistance all of the time, at little or no cost. We are trying to manage the site ourselves, but this has always been a difficult task. We are environmental educators, not computer technicians. We just finished the spring 2012 edition of Hemlock Pathways. You should be receiving your online newsletter within one week. Again, thank you for your patience. Once we figure this out, it should go much smoother in the future. This is the first one ever for us.

2. We are putting the final touches on a brand new gift shop at the McKeever Center. It will be ready June 18, 2012. We are expanding the shop to include t-shirts, sweatshirts, hoodies, hats, water bottles, coffee and travel mugs, books, CD’s, tote and field bags, and much more. We now have Earthkeepers and Sunship Earth t-shirts. Please consider supporting this new gift shop. I need to find ways to bring in more revenue; we’re hoping this new gift shop brings in more money.

3. We are nearing the end of our fiscal year. As with many state institutions, we’ll find out about our funding once the state legislature and governor pass that information along to the PA State System of Higher Education (PASSHE). PASSHE will then determine our funding for 2012-13. We will operate as a 9-month facility next year.

In closing, please stay in touch with us. We had a very good year. We appreciate your interest and support. People always ask, “What can I do?” My answer is spread the word. Let people know that the McKeever Center offers exceptional environmental education programs and you can rent the center for all kinds of events and functions. Thank You,

McKeever Update

Jun 25, 2012   //   by McKeever Center   //   Blog, McKeever Center News  //  1 Comment

McKeever Receives DEP Grant

The McKeever Center received an Environmental Education grant from the PA Department of Environmental Protection for $6,495. The grant is earmarked towards the training of college students in environmental education activities and programs. Once trained, college students will teach the environmental education activities to school-aged students as a part of their field trips to the McKeever Center.

Philanthropy Class

The McKeever Center was selected as a ‘client’ in Dr. Alice Del Vecchio’s Philanthropy class at Slippery Rock University. In teams of four, students had the opportunity to work with non-profit organizations during the spring semester. Rather than using theoretical models, the students worked with organizations addressing their ‘real’ needs. In McKeever’s case, the students looked at funding, including annual campaigns, corporate donors, marketing and fund raising events. The team also worked on a four-color brochure, provided insight to McKeever’s mission statement and new tag line. McKeever will receive a CD and binder containing all of the work from the class project. I want to personally thank SRU students Jen Hoffman, Tara McHenry, Lindsey Peters and Vicki Ro. They put together an impressive packet of materials and their class presentation was outstanding.


So far, fifty-one people signed up to receive McKeever’s newsletter ‘Hemlock Pathways’ as an electronic newsletter. In times of cost cutting, this will reduce our operating costs. If you are interested in receiving Hemlock Pathways online, simply go to our website and click on the NEWS image on the home page. This will prompt you to subscribe for the online newsletter.

Community Service Projects

Is your group looking for a community service project? The McKeever Center provides opportunities to complete such projects. Our biggest need is our hiking trails. With the thousands of students who walk the trails each year, our trails always need attention. Another on-going need is providing attention to butterfly garden and native landscaping areas. If this type of project interests you, please contact the center for more information.

McKeever’s Bookstore/Gift Shop – New And Improved!

If you are looking for something for yourself or a gift for someone, think about giving that nature lover something from the McKeever bookstore. We have short and long-sleeved t-shirts, pigment dyed sweatshirts, fleece sweatshirts, hats, coffee mugs and cups, water bottles, stationery/envelopes of Hemlock Hollow/Rocky Basin as well as a nice collection of children’s books.

We’re looking to add new items such as hoodies, Sunship Earth and Earthkeepers t-shirts, tote bags and field guides. If you have an idea on something we should carry, let us know. Remember you can shop online at From the home page, click on the shopping cart image to access the bookstore.


Stay a Day, Weekend or a Week

Jun 25, 2012   //   by McKeever Center   //   Blog, McKeever Center News  //  No Comments

Did you know that you could rent the McKeever Center? Numerous groups and organizations rent the McKeever Center for their own events, whether they are churches, boy/girl scouts, 4-H, rotary or family reunions. McKeever is an excellent facility for businesses, non-profit organizations, colleges/universities and government agencies for staff retreats, workshops or conferences. The center offers a beautiful natural surrounding that enable groups to feel relaxed and at home.

Our three lodges combined can accommodate 156 overnight guests and our auditorium can seat 186 people. There are nine indoor meeting areas available for breakout sessions. The buildings are situated in a circle connected by a paved walkway creating a feeling of community for our groups.

In addition, the center offers two Retreat Houses, each house equipped with five semi-private bedrooms and five private bathrooms. These facilities are used primarily for organizations, colleges and businesses looking for an opportunity to get their staff away from the office, either to engage in long range planning or a staff retreat. If you are interested in renting the McKeever Center, call us at 724.376.1000 or e-mail at

Have You Thought About McKeever?

Jun 25, 2012   //   by McKeever Center   //   Blog, McKeever Center News  //  No Comments

It’s hard to find someone in western Pennsylvania who hasn’t been to the McKeever Center or know someone who has, whether it was their child participating in one of our school programs, a teacher attending a workshop, or someone who participated in one of our public programs. Since 1974, McKeever has worked with thousands of school age students each school year. In the center’s 38-year history, that’s over 150,000 students. During this same time, thousands of people have spent time at the center, either going through a workshop, public program, class/family reunion, and church outing or other function, representing another 150,000 people.

If you spent time at the McKeever Center, perhaps you might be interested in supporting the center. As was mentioned in earlier newsletters, McKeever lost its annual state budget and saw a reduction in its other source of funding. We are faced with a number of capital improvements projects. One of our immediate needs is new showers in the three lodges. Other items on our list include a new floor covering for the auditorium foyer, new sliding glass doors in all three lodges and new windows in the residence.

If you are in a position to support any of these projects, please contact the McKeever Center at your earliest convenience.

What Types Of Public Programs Would You Attend At The McKeever Center?

Dec 8, 2011   //   by McKeever Center   //   Blog, McKeever Center News  //  No Comments

We, the McKeever Center staff would like your input on the types of public programs you would like to see offered at the McKeever Center.

Here are some ideas we have:

Organic Gardening

Organic gardening is the science and art of growing fruits, vegetables, flowers, or ornamental plants by following the essential principles of organic agriculture in soil building and conservation, pest management, and heirloom variety preservation.  - from Wikipedia



Birdwatching or birding is the observation of birds as a recreational activity. It can be done with the naked eye, through a visual enhancement device like binoculars and telescopes, or by listening for bird sounds. Birding often involves a significant auditory component, as many bird species are more readily detected and identified by ear than by eye. - from Wikipedia


Sustainable Living

Sustainable living is a lifestyle that attempts to reduce an individual’s or society’s use of the Earth’s natural resources and his/her own resources. Practitioners of sustainable living often attempt to reduce their carbon footprint by altering methods of transportation, energy consumption and diet. Proponents of sustainable living aim to conduct their lives in ways that are consistent with sustainability, in natural balance and respectful of humanity’s symbiotic relationship with the Earth’s natural ecology and cycles. - from Wikipedia


We asked the question in a poll on our Facebook page.  Please click Like on our Facebook page and also answer the poll.  Share the question with your Facebook friends too!

You can also leave your suggetions/comments below, or send us a message using our Contact Us page.

Thank you!


Sep 12, 2011   //   by McKeever Center   //   Blog, McKeever Center News  //  No Comments

Welcome to the new McKeever Environmental Learning Center website!  It’s been a long time coming, but our new website is up.  We’ve made tremendous improvements all across the board.

Don’t forget to sign up for our electronic version of Hemlock Pathways, the McKeever Environmental Learning Center’s newsletter.  Hemlock Pathways is a seasonal newsletter that has always gone out by snail mail.  Now it’s available electronically.  We’ll also send out any other important updates to subscribers, but we promise not to get carried away with emails.

Let us know what you think of the new website by leaving a comment below.  We welcome all feedback. If you have any questions, just ask.

Have a great week!


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