HARRISBURG — Gov. Tom Corbett Friday nominated Dallas resident Ellen M. Ferretti to the cabinet-level post of secretary of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.
Ferretti had been serving as deputy secretary for Parks and Forestry until earlier this summer when she was named acting secretary of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. Ferretti accepted that post in June after Corbett asked for and received former Secretary Rick Allan’s resignation.
Allan, 60, a native of Wilkes-Barre and now living in Cumberland County, had served in the post since March 2011.
Ferretti, 56, has more than 20 years of experience working to protect the state’s natural resources, having served as the Pennsylvania Environmental Council’s director of its northeast regional office, where she worked closely with DCNR and its partners on landscape conservation.
“I’m honored, and that’s putting it lightly,” Ferretti said. “And I am extremely grateful to the governor for this opportunity.”
Ferretti said she has no “grand sweeping initiative in mind,” and she cited DCNR’s “extraordinary” work. “I have nothing new in the works for the near future, other than to protect our parks and forests and to assure our staff has what it needs to do their jobs.”
Ferretti grew up near the scarred landscape of strip mining and learned to appreciate nature by traveling to state parks, she said.
“As I travel around the state, I find so many people who share my love for our parks,” she said. “We have so many, especially in Northeastern Pennsylvania, that are often taken for granted.
“Maybe we don’t have a lot of natural beauty in our neighborhoods, but our region certainly does.”
In addition, Ferretti has served as: director of Environmental Resources at Borton-Lawson Engineering, as a land protection specialist for The Nature Conservancy and as a project manager at Westinghouse Environmental and Geo-technical Services Inc.
A graduate of Wilkes College with a degree in environmental science and biology, Ferretti has completed many continuing education courses on conservation, environmental assessments, redevelopment, forest stewardship, trail, park and recreational planning.
Corbett also nominated E. Christopher Abruzzo as secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection. Abruzzo, of Hershey, was serving as Corbett’s deputy chief of staff until he was appointed acting secretary of the DEP in April.
Corbett said Ferretti has devoted much of her career toward the development, promotion and protection of state parks and forest lands.
“That experience and insight will make her an excellent secretary,’’ Corbett said. “She understands the unique qualities of our state park and forest systems. I am confident the citizens of Pennsylvania will benefit from her continued stewardship of our public lands.’’
Pennsylvania Growing Greener Coalition Executive Director Andrew Heath endorsed the governor’s nomination of Ferretti. “Her leadership and expertise, coupled with her commitment to Pennsylvania’s natural resources, make her a strong choice to head DCNR,” Heath said. “She has a proven record in caring for the commonwealth’s rich natural resources.”
Paul King, president of the Pennsylvania Environmental Council, issued the following statement supporting both nominees: “The PEC has worked well with both individuals and has found them committed to the missions of the agencies. We appreciate Governor Corbett naming two thoughtful stewards of the environment and we look forward to continuing our work with them.’’
The nominations now go to the state Senate for its consideration.