All posts tagged Oil Creek State Park

November 2019 Young Professional Profiles: Ivy Kuberry & Emily Lewis

Ivy Kuberry has returned to our area and we’re looking forward to getting to know her and having her involved!

Originally from Pleasantville, Ivy left for college and worked in state parks throughout the state. “My goal was to eventually come back to Venango County and work at Oil Creek State Park,” she told us. So when a position opened up at the park recently, she jumped at the opportunity and got the job!

Ivy is now an Environmental Education Specialist through the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) and works in Oil Creek, a beautiful state park right in our backyard.

She earned her bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science from Edinboro University and has a number of other certifications. She is certified as an Interpretive Guide from the National Association for Interpretation Leave, No Trace Trainer, Kayaking Instructor from the American Canoe Association Red Cross, lifeguard, and more. These allow her to offer fun and safe outdoor recreation programming.

Some of Ivy’s achievements she’s most proud of are completing a conservation-focused study abroad trip in South Africa and Botswana, presenting a college research project at the Society of Toxicology annual meeting, and creating new and exciting environmental and recreational programming at Oil Creek State Park. One of her main goals is to get more people out to enjoy all the park has to offer.

It’s to no surprise that some of Ivy’s favorite activities to do in her free time include hiking, camping, swimming, and biking. She also likes reading and spending time with family and friends, and can often be found at local businesses and events, including Trails to Ales, Karma Coffee, Applefest, Movies at Cranberry, and Oil Heritage Festival. Ivy is getting married to her fiancé Eric next fall and looks forward to starting a family soon.

“Venango County is breathtakingly beautiful and has a great amount of history. There is always more to see, do, and learn,” she told us. “The people of Venango County have always had a special place in my heart. People truly care about each other here, and it creates a feeling unlike what I have experienced anywhere else. Getting to work here is truly a blessing.”

We’re so glad you’re here, Ivy!

Emily Lewis is Executive Director of the Venango County Economic Development Authority, the lead economic development organization in the county created in early 2018. The Authority’s goal is to remove barriers to growth for businesses and create an inviting place where people want to live.

Helping our area succeed is a passion of Emily’s, especially since she is a Venango County native who grew up in Jackson Township (just outside Cooperstown) and attended Rocky Grove High School.

After high school, Emily studied at Slippery Rocky University where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies with minors in Business Administration and Geographic Information Systems (GIS).

During college, Emily worked as a GIS intern and then a Planning intern at the County of Venango, which led to a full-time job with the Planning Commission upon graduation. Emily has always worked in Venango County, but lived in Cranberry Township near Pittsburgh for a brief time.

Professionally, one of Emily’s achievements includes heading the Cornplanter Square Building project in Oil City, which she describes as a “great building with good bones that means a lot to the community,” and she’s excited to play a part in bringing it back to life. She is also proud of the launch of eAcademy, a new program providing education and training on entrepreneurship to high school seniors, and being awarded a grant she wrote to create a sidewalk to connect Franklin and Sugarcreek.

A personal achievement of Emily’s includes climbing Mt Washburn during a recent visit to Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming. Emily and her husband Josh live in Franklin with their dog Bo, and enjoy hiking, especially at Two Mile Run County Park and spending time with family. Emily is also a huge fan of house plants and enjoys decorating, such as repurposing old furniture.

There are many reasons Emily is glad to live and work in Venango County. “The people are probably my favorite part,” she said. “I love the feeling of walking down the street and seeing everyone smiling at each other, and I feel like people are willing to try new things and take risks.”

Emily looks forward to continuing to grow the organization and seeing how she can be useful to the community. Thanks for all your hard work, Emily!

These articles were published in the Future Leaders & Entrepreneurs Exchange’s (FLEX) November 2019 edition of the FLEX Your Ideas (FYI) Newsletter.

PA Park & Recreation Professionals Day

On June 4, State Representative R. Lee James introduced House Resolution 370 (HR 370) recognizing and celebrating July 19, 2019, as Pennsylvania Park and Recreation Professionals Day.” The resolution passed 197-0.

There are nearly 8,000 fulltime and part-time park and recreation employees working in this Commonwealth. These park and recreation professionals are complemented by thousands of volunteers who serve on boards, committees, trails, friends and neighborhood groups, and contribute significantly to the health, well-being, economic vitality and quality of life of citizens of this Commonwealth of all ages.

Park and recreation professionals:

• Bring life-enriching services to citizens of all ages and abilities
• Work to keep facilities clean, safe and ready to use
• Strengthen community cohesion and resiliency
• Connect people with nature and each other
• Develop and manage a wide range of public programming
• Provide and promote opportunities for healthy living, social equity and environmental sustainability

Rep. James and the other members of the PA House of Representatives recognize and celebrate July 19, 2019, as “Pennsylvania Park and Recreation Professionals Day” in this Commonwealth and extend its thanks and gratitude to park and recreation professionals and the essential services that they provide to our citizens and our communities.

This article was published in the Venango Area Chamber of Commerce’s July 2019 VenangoWorks! Newsletter.

Local Business Owners Participate in Oil Creek 100

Dr. Scott KennedyIs there anything more challenging than being a small business owner? Well, maybe running through the woods for over 7 hours, on trails covered by wet leaves, rocks and roots, climbing over 5400 feet. Two Venango Chamber member business owners completed such runs recently, and neither for the first time.  Dr. Scott Kennedy, Optometrist, and Jason Woolcock, co-owner of Witherup Fabrication, both participated in the Oil Creek 100 Trail Run, described as “Unforgiving, Historic and Gnarly.”

Each October, for the past nine years, over 400 athletes descend on Oil Creek State Park to attempt a race of 50k, 100k or 100 miles.  The 50k (32 miles) attracts over 150 racers.  In addition to racers (who chose to run, hike or both), families and support teams join them, most as visitors to our region.  The races that began this year on the morning of October 14 at 7 a.m., 6, a.m. and 5 a.m. respectively, lasted throughout Saturday and Sunday, with the cutoff for 100 mile completion at 1 p.m. Sunday afternoon.

Scott Kennedy didn’t start running until just 5 years ago, at age 59.  “Once my sons left home for college, my daughters challenged me to spend more time with them.  Resisting the invitation to golf with dad, they suggested instead that I run with them.”

Those runs soon led to a few 5k races, a 10k (Scott described as a bad idea) and eventually, at the suggestion of a friend, an attempt at trail running. The convenience of local trails made this especially appealing and in 2016 Scott ran his first Oil Creek 100, completing 50k in just over 8 ½ hours.  This year he took on the 100K, running for more than 22 hours.  Finishing just after 4 in the morning, Scott describes the experience: “Running  at night was just surreal, with the noises, flying squirrels, porcupines, and your eyes playing tricks with the shadows from the headlamps.  My overall experience is difficult to sum up, except that it was an exhaustive feeling of accomplishment. ”

Jason Woolcock could be described as a serial Oil Creek 100 runner, having completed the race 5 times, including four 50k races and one 100k.  This year, Jason finished the 50k in just over 7 hours. Jason, too, was inspired by a friend, the late Jim Benson, who ran well into his 70’s.  Jason remarks: “We are fortunate to have this race and these trails in our region, available to us year round. This race is supported by local volunteers, Oil Creek State Park, the Titusville School District and race Director Tom Jennings. I enjoy the opportunity to spend the weekend of the Oil Creek 100 with the many friends I have made throughout the years.”
Jason Woolcock
The race, which sells out within minutes of the registration opening, infuses money into the local economy.  Local hotels often sell out and restaurants are busy with runners and their crews before and after the race. The majority of the participants are not from the Oil Region and, in fact, many are not from Pennsylvania.  They are visitors to our area and are generous in their compliments about the beauty of our area and the wonderful hospitality they find here.


You can learn more about the Oil Creek 100 Race at