About The Center
2013 Greatest Around the Poconos - Voted #1 - Best Environmental Organization
The Monroe County Conservation District’s Environmental Education Center provides year-round environmental education programs for people of all ages. Our Center is dedicated to fostering community awareness through first-hand experience of the natural environment of the Poconos.
Since its inception in 1976 our Center has offered a wide range of programs and has always strived to improve and expand its offerings.
We continually seek to:
• Provide areas in our County for outdoor laboratories where plants, animals and entire ecosystems can be studied;
• Sponsor and participate in educational programs, ecological research, and classroom teaching;
• Cooperate with other agencies and organizations concerned with environmental education and;
• Provide leadership training programs in the field of conservation, environmental education and natural history.
The Education Center is located at the County-owned Kettle Creek Wildlife Sanctuary near Bartonsville. This 13,000 sq. foot facility contains the Administrative and Technical offices of the Conservation District. It also houses the Kettle Creek Environmental Education Center on its second floor. Over 7,200 sq. ft. of space is devoted to educational programs including two large classroom/meeting areas, offices, kitchen, public restrooms and numerous displays and exhibits on the Pocono's natural environment.
The Center also contains a gift shop with many different educational and environmentally oriented items for sale including a large selection of birdfeeders, quality birdseed, field guides and more. On the outside of the building is a large observation deck and additional classroom area. Many different educational programs are offered year-round. The building is open Monday - Friday, 8am - 4:30pm and most Saturdays from 9am - 1pm.
The Kettle Creek Wildlife Sanctuary itself is a 166 acre preserve. The initial 120 acres was donated for the preservation of wildlife by Clayton Swink. And an additional 46 acres was purchased in 2004. It is now managed by the Conservation District and provides an interesting arena for outdoor programs. It has old field, mature deciduous forest, evergreen stands, and two ponds. Over 2 1/2 miles of maintained and well marked trails are open for public use year-round, 7 days a week.
The Education Center also utilizes “sattelite sites” in Monroe County. The Meesing site is a 100 acre tract located on the Delaware State Forest north of Marshalls Creek. Owned by the PA Bureau of Forestry and maintained by the Conservation District the area encompasses a variety of diverse habitats. There is a large clearcut where a young forest is emerging, a stand of pines, a small swamp, a stream, a pond, and a maple forest complete with a Sugar Shack that is used to produce sweet maple syrup each March. Two miles of trails are open to the public year-round, dawn to dusk, for passive recreation and nature study.
Kettle Creek Environmental Education Center educators also provide interpretive tours of The Nature Conservancy’s Tannersville Cranberry Bog. Access to the fragile area is limited. The floating boardwalk provides a unique opportunity to see the interior of the bog. Tours are held throughout the year for the general public as well as private and school groups.
Photo Taken with our trail camera - October 2008
The Monroe County Conservation District History
|Early 1970s-1976 ||• From the beginning, technical services and educational programs regarding conservation were provided throughout the Monroe County Conservation District (MCCD). The programs were provided primarily to farmers, foresters, and sportsmen organizations.|
• Under the Comprehensive Education and Training Act (CETA), the District hires three employees to address the ever-increasing demand for conservation assistance geared toward urban/suburban needs while serving the remaining agricultural community and maintaining the quality of the rural environment.
• The first Monroe County Junior Conservation Camp was organized. This provided 30 teenagers from Monroe County the opportunity to learn about their environment and how to live in harmony with it. With glowing reviews from all those involved, the District staff recommended to its Board of Directors that education be given a high priority among the District's goals and objectives.
• 100 acres were set aside by the PA Bureau of Forestry in Delaware State Forest. This became the Meesing Nature Center. The Center's first trail system was established and the number of staff members, visitors, and programs grew rapidly.
|1976-1984||• Soon the Conservation District offices became too crowded and the entire MCCD program moved to a new home at the Pleasant Valley Manor in Snydersville. A new home, expanded room to work, a permanent County naturalist position established, and a new environmental education horizon began to widen.|
• The Pennsylvania Chapter of The Nature Conservancy (TNC) formed and a cooperative agreement developed between TNC and MCCD. This agreement led to an expanded role at the Tannersville Cranberry Bog. Another result of this agreement was an expanded awareness by local students and organizations of the importance of wetlands.
• District naturalists became charter members in a new organization of environmental educators called the Pennsylvania Alliance for Environmental Education (PAEE). This involvement resulted in greater awareness of the District's conservation education program far beyond the boundaries of Monroe County.
• A program called the Science Education And Resource Conservation Here (SEARCH) became the first formal involvement with Pocono Mountain School District included teacher training and year-round scheduled school group participation.
• The Kettle Creek Wildlife Sanctuary was established by Monroe County with the help of many local conservation groups. This proved to be a perfect site for an Environmental Education Center and permanent home for the Conservation District.
|1985||• As Monroe County became more suburbanized, the District's focus began to include more resources for homeowners as well as farmers. Adult education courses were also added to the programs.|
|1991||• Using funds raised through program donations, student contributions, a special quilt raffle, seedling and birdseed sales and the money raised by the Kettle Creek Environmental Fund a new facility was constructed at the Kettle Creek site, which included expanded offices, classrooms and a gift shop. This new center was named the Monroe County Environmental Education Center.|
• The Kettle Creek Environmental Fund, a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting the Monroe County Conservation District’s Environmental Education Center.
|1993||• Received the National Conservation District Education Program of the Year Award. This award is provided yearly by the National Association of Conservation Districts and the Zeneca Ag products Corp.|
|1995||• Year round Programs continued to expand including the initiation of a junior naturalist program in the summer of 1995.|
|1999||• As programs grew an addition to the building was completed and much needed classroom and display space was added.|
|2002||• With the help of the Kettle Creek Environmental Fund a new Sugar Shack was constructed at the Meesing Outdoor Site.|
|2004||• An additional 46 acres of property was added to the Kettle Creek Wildlife Sanctuary to bring the total acreage to 166 acres.|
|2006||• May, 2006 the final payment on the mortgage was paid|
|1991-2008||• Kettle Creek Environmental Fund has donated over $500,000 in support of the E.E. Center and its programs.|
*Completion of The Outdoor Learning Pavilion.
|2010||*Kettle Creek Environmental Fund Establishes Endowment Fund as another way to help support the Monroe County EE|