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A Passion For Penn’s Woods

Ellen Ferretti ’78 Leads State Conservation Agency

By Helen Kaiser

Ellen Ferretti '78 enjoys a spring afternoon in Frances Slocum State Park.

Ellen Ferretti ’78 enjoys a spring afternoon in Frances Slocum State Park.

Ellen Ferretti ’78 grew up in the Cork Lane section of Pittston Township, Luzerne County—where the neighborhood houses were just steps away from each other. Families often packed picnics and took Sunday drives to get away from it all and appreciate the riches of nature.

“I always loved the outdoors,” she says. “We would enjoy the lakes, swimming beaches, pavilions and hiking at Tobyhanna and Gouldsboro state parks.”

Now, some 50 years later, Ferretti oversees Pennsylvania’s 120 parks and its 20 forest districts as secretary of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR).

Confirmed to the cabinet post in December, Ferretti had served as acting secretary for several months and as deputy for parks and forestry since June 2011.  Her background includes more than 20 years in private industry and nonprofit conservation posts.

“Here (at DCNR) we deal with both private sector firms and nonprofits, so it’s easy for me to relate to them,” she says. “When you understand from the ground up how to build a program or start a project, how to assess and how to implement, it informs your decision making. You have a true appreciation of what’s involved.” Continue reading

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