News for Constituents

Plan Your PA Vacation Now

Start planning your Pennsylvania vacation with the online version of the 2018 Happy Traveler Guide published by VisitPA, the Commonwealth’s Tourism Office. 

Meanwhile, order your hard copy of the 2018 Happy Traveler Guide for your convenience while away on vacation.  Use either version to locate venues offering history, urban experiences, outdoor adventures, festivals, and special events.  Choose a road trip, from among PA’s eleven tourism regions for great food and fun.  The Guide is filled with coupons as well. 

Travelers contributed nearly $4.4 billion in state and local tax revenue (p.59) and $4.5 billion in federal taxes in 2015.  Each PA household would have to be taxed an additional $880 annually to replace the tax revenue from travel and tourism. 

Time to Erect an Eastern Bluebird Box

The time is right to purchase your bluebird box from the Pennsylvania Game Commission website or at their Harrisburg headquarters. 

Assemble a Pennsylvania Game Commission bluebird box kit to enhance the odds on the return of the Eastern bluebird to your backyard.  Improve the likelihood of a bluebird nesting in your new or existing box by observing the following conditions for location:

  • Erect 4 to 6 feet off the ground;
  • Place in direct sunlight;
  • Avoid close proximity to houses and buildings;
  • Refrain from waterways and wetlands; and
  • Circumvent forested and brushy areas.

Farms once covered two-thirds of Pennsylvania, the human population was half of the current numbers, and the Eastern Bluebird was an early darling of spring, according to the Pennsylvania Game Commission.  Through the careless introduction of English sparrows, European starlings, and DDT, coupled with the loss of open space to development and reforestation, the existence of the Eastern bluebird population has been threatened

Tips for Planning your Garden

While there are many rare, threatened, endangered, or invasive plants, Pennsylvania is home to approximately 3,000 plant species, with roughly two-thirds considered native, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (PA DCNR). 

The use of the more than 2,100 native plants which occurred in Pennsylvania before European colonization, will avoid the problems arising from non-native plants.  Chose native plants for reasons of adaptability, food source, attraction of native pollinators, less maintenance, and support for Pennsylvania’s natural diversity. 

The PA DCNR simplifies the selection of trees, shrubs, and perennials by breaking down four types of planting conditions into sunny and moist, sunny and dry, shady and moist, and shady and dry

Get Ready for April Showers

Get ready for April showers and May flowers with an environmentally-friendly rain barrel, and a little help from the Penn State Extension

Start with a quick review of the tips and precautions for maintaining a rain barrel.  Contact your local Extension Office to inquire about a rain barrel workshop or stop by your local gardening center or hardware store to pick up a ready-made rain barrel with mosquito-proofing, overflow systems, and spigots already installed. 

Drought and water pollution are among the driving forces, along with your dollars, making rain barrels the sensible project or purchase this spring.  Add a rain garden to decrease runoff and flooding conditions on your property. 

Help Remove the Invasive Spotted Lanternfly

Time to look for the masses, egg masses that is, clinging to your trees, stones, outdoor furniture, vehicles, and structures, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture. 

That waxy-covered, gray mud appearing to be spread across your tree bark or other property, may harbor 50 Spotted Lanternflies, the invasive species threatening to wreak havoc on Pennsylvania’s $18 billion in agricultural industry receipts from orchards, wineries, breweries, and logging. 

April is the last chance to remove the eggs laid in late September through early December and set to hatch in May.  Remove the egg mass with the assistance of a credit card, a zip lock baggie, and rubbing alcohol; then dispose of the sealed bag in your trash  The PA Department of Agriculture requests you report your findings to or 1-866-253-7189 to assist with efforts to eradicate the invasive pest. 


Mobile Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall to Visit Harrisburg 

Honoring the sacrifice and memory of fallen U. S. Vietnam Veterans, a mobile replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall will be on exhibit outside the Capitol Complex in Harrisburg from 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 9 through Sunday, May 13, 2018 at 2 p.m. 

The Wall That Heals,” first unveiled in 1996, is now a chevron-shaped, half-scale replica of the original Memorial Wall dedicated in 1982 on the East Mall in Washington, D.C.  The transport vehicle transforms into The Mobile Education Center, highlighting the chronology of the Vietnam War, a map, letters, and memorabilia. 

If you are unable to visit the PA Capitol in Harrisburg, you may wish to visit the traveling exhibit in Brockway, PA from June 28 through July 1 or head to McKeesport, PA for the exhibition to be held between August 9 and August 12, before it moves on to other states.