Spotlight: Jeff Rosalsky, Pocono Environmental Education Center

We can't thank our Early Adopters enough for their support over the past year in bringing our benches to the world. We started the Soofa Spotlight Series so our amazing network of supporters can share their stories about innovation, Soofa, and thoughts on what makes great outdoor spaces. 

Meet Jeff Rosalsky, the Executive Director of the Pocono Environmental Education Center:  

What inspired you to take on on your role as Executive Director at the Pocono Environmental Education Center (PEEC)? What do you like most about it?  

I actually started as a volunteer at PEEC for many years, and then was on the Board of Trustees, before becoming Executive Director.  I have a financial industry and business background.  Ever since my first years volunteering, I have always thought the work PEEC does in educating students about the environment and sustainable design was vital.  When the Board asked me to a take on the Executive Director role, I didn’t hesitate.

Tell us about PEEC? What do you love about it? What is one thing everyone should know about it?

PEEC is a residential environmental education center, meaning up to 330 students can stay on our campus for multi-day education programs.  We are an independent 501(c)(3) non-profit, but we sit within a national park, Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, and are 75 miles from New York City and 90 miles from Philadelphia.  We focus on hands-on environmental and sustainable design education.  I love seeing students, who have limited exposure to the natural world, make their own discoveries and catch the instructors enthusiasm about what nature has to offer.   Everyone should know that the facilities of PEEC are the ultimate in sustainable design, as the campus was originally an Poconos honeymoon resort called Honeymoon Haven.  About 44 years ago, it was repurposed and expanded upon to create an amazing environmental education center.

If you have a free afternoon to explore PEEC, what do you like to do?

Hike some of our 14 miles of trails, which are also open to the public.  Ideally, I would combine that with some paddling on the Delaware River, which is only a mile away.

Why did you choose Soofa? 

I did extensive research, looked at all the other outdoor solar charging stations I could find, and Soofa was the simplest and most aesthetically appealing.

What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome to launch your Soofa Bench? How did you progress past this?

Unsurprisingly for a non-profit, funding was the biggest challenge.  We were fortunate that PPL, our local utility, was generous enough to fund the Soofa with a grant.

What was the experience like when you told visitors and stakeholders about their new bench?

Everyone thought it was a fun way to see solar energy in action.  The Soofa bench really incorporates well into PEEC’s philosophy of using our structures as teaching tools for sustainable design.

What do the visitors to PEEC like the most about Soofa?

The Soofa is right in front of our main building.  It is one the first things they see when they come to PEEC.  I think visitors like the aesthetic of the bench and then they discover the functionality of the charging station.

If you had one wish to improve PEEC, what would it be? 

Having the entire campus run on sustainable energy. 



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