​“I use my outside voice because living in this unique valley is totally natural and amazing with all it has to offer!”

Debra Schuler
North East, Pennsylvania

Debra Schuler’s appreciation for nature and the creatures that inhabit her surroundings has been with her from child hood. Experiencing the beauty of nature and all it had to offer was a constant for Debra growing up.

“A place that is special and important to me and my family is Cherry Valley, which is located southwest of Stroudsburg, in Northeast PA. I have lived here for almost 20 years, and have grown so fond of living here.”

Now as an adult that same love for nature still exists. Debra believes that the wellbeing of nature makes life more enjoyable for humans and wildlife. “Living the way we do in Cherry Valley makes it special to me and I feel like I live outdoors. To live here you have to be accepting of all of those that live here too.”

Debra works closely with others in her community to draw awareness of the changes occurring in her community. The area of Cherry Valley consists of farmlands and forests and is located at the base of the Kittatinny Ridge, a migratory bird flyway, with the Cherry Creek headwaters originating in Saylorsburg and meandering east to Delaware Water Gap to meet the Delaware River. Because of its diverse habitat, Cherry Valley is desirable to more than 80 rare and endangered species of flora and fauna.

“The awareness of area residents of the changes occurring around our immediate area and region made several of us unite and form a group called Friends of Cherry Valley. This small grass roots organization, with the help of local government and conservation groups, was instrumental in convincing two congressmen how important our area was and that any further changes would be detrimental to its uniqueness. With their help, in 2008, the director of the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) designated 22,400 acres of the valley as an acquisition boundary area for willing sellers who were interested in conserving their property by selling their property outright or selling easements to USFWS.”

Debra believes that the commitment to maintaining the integrity of the community you live in is important to the health of communities. “Because living in this unique valley is totally natural and amazing with all it has to offer is why I use my outside voice.”

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I know that investing in conservation is the only way we can help keep America beautiful, strong, prosperous and healthy. I am proud to join a community of people who speak up for nature to help save the places we love.