HARRISBURG – The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection recently announced that the Pennsylvania Game Commission’s Wildlife on WiFi (WoW) program was the recipient of the statewide award for the Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence.
The award is presented to distinguished collaborative groups who represent state employees’ efforts to bring awareness and educate Commonwealth citizens on the environment and natural resources.
The Game Commission launched the WoW online conservation learning program in April 2020, shortly after COVID-19 orders went into effect. The goal was to ensure continuity of the Game Commission’s educational and public awareness service during the pandemic, but WoW has been so successful, it is now a permanent program that has been nationally recognized. WoW provides educators, students, parents, and high-risk health communities, as well as general audiences, with home-based conservation and wildlife science education that includes lessons and activities, live virtual sessions, field researcher webinars, and social media games.
“With the unprecedented challenges facing parents and educators during COVID-19, we launched Wildlife on WiFi with the vision of connecting Pennsylvanians with their state’s wildlife from anywhere,” said Lauren Ferreri, Game Commission Biological & Visitor Manager of the Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area. “We’re honored by the program’s recognition and encourage everyone to explore WoW’s online resources and lessons.”
The popularity of the initial campaign has made WoW a valuable addition to the Game Commission’s wildlife-education toolbox.
“Not everyone has been on a State Game Lands, at one of our region offices or visitor centers, or has spoken with a game warden,” said Steve Smith, Game Commission Information and Education Bureau Director. “WoW enables the Game Commission to connect every Pennsylvania resident to our state’s conservation heritage and wildlife, no matter where they are and in a variety of content formats.”
Game Commission Executive Director Bryan Burhans said he is proud of the staff who made this innovative program possible.
“Wildlife on WiFi provides at-home learning resources and ‘virtual field trip’ opportunities for educators, students and wildlife enthusiasts,” he said. “Kudos to the staff who made this possible.”
WoW tailors content to different age levels and audiences, and provides access through the Game Commission’s website www.pgc.pa.gov and Facebook page.