Protect PT will open an environmental education center in May

Citizen-led environmental group Protect PT will expand its presence at Penn Township Plaza with the grand opening of a new community environmental education center on May 7.

“We actually moved our office to the other side of the building,” said Gillian Graber, executive director of Protect PT. “We went from two offices and a small meeting space to two suites in the same building, now with six offices and a large meeting space.”

The new community center will provide the opportunity to not only provide educational classes related to Protect PT’s mission, but also provide a meeting space for other local groups.

“This space will be dedicated to community meetings, educational presentations and all the work that we do,” Graber said. “We sometimes had a hard time finding an open space when we needed it, as we usually do programs in the evenings and on weekends.

Graber said there are plans to hold regular classes by staff and guest presenters, including in-home resource guide workshops, radon monitoring workshops, educational film screenings, art exhibits and more.

“We’re hoping to do things like community yoga classes to help people relax,” Graber said. “So it’s not just going to be about environmental health, it’s about personal health as well.”

Plans are also underway to offer family-oriented classes on topics such as identifying and recycling native plants.

Ann LeCuyer of Trafford, a member of Protect PT, said she was delighted to see the new space open.

“The more people are aware of climate issues, the more they can do to protect themselves and future generations,” LeCuyer said.

Graber said the center’s focus on environmental sustainability has also extended to the building itself.

“We made some upgrades to make the whole space eco-friendly,” she said. “We’re replacing all fluorescent lights with LED bulbs, and our landlord has worked with us to help us install new windows and a high-efficiency heating and cooling system.”

The grand opening of the Community Environmental Educational Center will take place from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., May 7 at 3344 Route 130 (Suite B) in the Harrison City neighborhood of Penn Township. The afternoon will include a taco bar, entertainment and raffles.

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Patrick Varine is an editor at Tribune-Review. You can contact Patrick at 724-850-2862, or via Twitter .