February 14, 2017

Caleb Heisey ’11 has parlayed his love of the outdoors and the graphic design degree he earned at Susquehanna into a project to raise money and awareness for parks like the one he enjoyed as a child.

Fond memories of his parents taking him and his siblings to Little Buffalo State Park near their Perry County, Pa., home for hiking, swimming and fishing influenced his idea to help state parks remain admission-free.

“I really fell in love with the outdoors,” Heisey said. “If we wouldn’t have had that free resource, we wouldn’t have been able to go as often.”

Through his PA Patch Coalition, Heisey is designing promotional patches to honor Pennsylvania’s 121 state parks. So far, he’s completed 45 designs.

“Patches are a great visual way to get people interested and get a gist for what is at the park,” he said. “And it’s something that people could keep.”

For example, Heisey’s patch for Ricketts Glen State Park features a waterfall. The patch for Shikellamy State Park, located at the confluence of the Susquehanna River at Sunbury, represents that in a slightly abstract way. And the patch for Point State Park, located at the confluence of three rivers at the tip of Pittsburgh’s “Golden Triangle,” features the waves of a river, a tree line and a cityscape.

Heisey’s Kickstarter campaign, which has already surpassed its $6,000 goal, will fund the embroidery of 10 of the patches, with about 200 available of each.

The patches will be available for purchase in February through an online store. A portion of the proceeds from patch sales will go directly to the Pennsylvania Parks & Forest Foundation (PPFF), the park system’s official nonprofit partner. Plus, with a donation of at least $10, donors will receive a six-month membership to the PPFF.

“We applaud Caleb’s effort to capture the beauty of our state parks,” said Marci Mowery, president of the PPFF, “and thank him for supporting the work of the Pennsylvania Parks and Forests Foundation through the sale of the patches.”

After earning his master’s degree at Tyler School of Art at Temple University, Caleb Heisey ’11 opened his own design studio, Good Bones Studio, in Philadelphia, where he specializes in branding, packaging and web design.