Pennsylvania’s commitment to the preservation of its prized natural resources is exhibited by its many environmentally-friendly facilities and opportunities for visitors to connect with nature.
Get inspired at these earth-friendly attractions, including many buildings with the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED® certification (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) – a coveted benchmark in green building.
THE NATURE INN AT BALD EAGLE STATE PARK
In-room energy monitors, a 2,800-gallon rainwater harvesting system, and solar-thermal hot water system make this bed and breakfast a model of environmental stewardship. The inn is also an acclaimed interpretive center for birding and offers many resources to help guests spot the park’s winged beauties, including field guides, a bird-tracker kiosk, and Children’s Discovery Area.
BIG SPRING SPIRITS
Taste super-smooth vodka, gin, rum, whiskey, and bourbon at Big Spring Spirits’ tasting room in Bellefonte, the first LEED®-certified distillery in the country. The spirits maker uses water from the local Big Spring and follows a grain-to-grass philosophy by only using ingredients grown by local farmers.
ERIE ART MUSEUM
Erie Art Museum’s newest building – opened in 2010 to tie the institution’s five historic buildings together into a single complex – boasts the LEED® Gold certification. The facility – which houses galleries, a Café, and gift shop – has energy-efficient lighting, heating, and cooling systems; reconfigurable rotating walls to minimize future construction; and a storm water management system.
PPG PAINTS ARENA
Cheer on the Pittsburgh Penguins at the first NHL arena to receive a LEED® Gold certification. Constructed primarily from locally sourced and recycled materials, PPG Paints Arena has a large glass atrium for natural light and high-efficiency heating and cooling systems.
4 SEASONS FARM MARKET
Three solar greenhouses at this sustainable farm facilitate the growth of vegetables throughout the winter – so fresh produce is available year-round. Located in northeast Pennsylvania’s Endless Mountains, 4 Seasons Farm Market also uses crop rotation and follows organic practices to support healthy soil.
ELK COUNTRY VISITOR CENTER
The location and layout of this LEED® Gold-certified wildlife center were chosen to minimize impact on the surrounding ecosystem, the roaming grounds of the largest wild elk herd in the northeastern U.S. Other green features of Elk Country Visitor Center include solar-oriented windows for natural warmth and lighting and a renewable geothermal heating and cooling system.
PENN STATE’S MEDLAR FIELD
Water conservation initiatives, sensors to monitor and control energy use, and recycled plastic seats are just a few environmentally friendly features of Medlar Field, home to the Nittany Lions Baseball and Softball and State College Spikes. Penn State's Medlar Field became the first baseball stadium in the U.S. to achieve LEED® certification in 2007.
OTHER PLACES TO CONNECT WITH PENNSYLVANIA’S NATURAL LANDSCAPE
- Take advantage of the nine public fishing areas, indoor bird observation area, and wildlife observation blind at Erie National Wildlife Refuge.
- Find out how Pennsylvania farmers are using sustainable practices to produce organic fruits and veggies, meats, and dairy products at more than 30 farms in Butler County.
- Learn the natural process behind honey production by watching the bees at Draper’s Super Bee Apiaries in Millerton, where free tours uncover how bees impact ecological balance and how honey is collected.
- Soar more than 100 feet above the ground through the lush landscapes of the Laurel Highlands and Allegheny Mountains on a zipline tour with Laurel Ridgeline Canopy Experience at Seven Springs Mountain Resort, Fatbird SuperFlyer at Nemacolin, or Ohiopyle Zip-line Adventure Park.
- Volunteer with Valley Forge National Historical Park’s Crayfish Corps to remove invasive rusty crayfish from Valley Creek (May through August). The non-native rusty crayfish threaten native crayfish and local trout populations.
- Explore a life-size beaver lodge, bat cave, eagle’s nest and fossil pit at Pocono Environmental Education Center in the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, an organization that supports environmental conservation, appreciation for nature, and sustainable living.