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2022 Northeast Environmental Partnership Awards Dinner

November 3, 2022 @ 5:00 pm - 9:00 pm

The Northeast Environmental Partners, comprised of the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, Pennsylvania Environmental Council, PPL Corporation, Procter & Gamble Paper Products Company, and Wilkes University, are pleased to announce the 32nd Annual Evening for Northeast Pennsylvania’s Environment will be held on Thursday November 3, 2022 at the Woodlands Inn & Resort, Plains, PA. This year’s Emcee will be Dr. Katie Leonard, Ed.D., President & CEO of Johnson College.

To register for the dinner, please visit: https://PECNEAwardsDinner.eventbrite.com

For information on how to sponsor the event, please contact Angela Vitkoski at 570-718-6507, extension 201 or email [email protected]


  • Bowmanstown Area Residents Connected (BARC), Carbon County, BARC is made up of residents of Bowmanstown, PA. BARC members work with numerous partners to recruit volunteers, host community events, and raise funds to support community improvement projects and programs. BARC has completed neighborhood beautification projects, native plant species education, installation of murals in community spaces, and hosted activities and services that encourage residents to enjoy the outdoors.
  • Kathy Henderson, Carbon County, for her dedication and commitment to educating Carbon County municipal officials, residents and business owners on how economic development and natural resource conservation go together to improve quality of life. In 2017, Audubon Mid-Atlantic approached Kathy to partner on a Return on Environment (ROE) study for the county. Kathy, as a steadfast champion of building nature-based economies, was able to create effective partnerships with local and county officials, the conservation community, and the business community on the ROE. Kathy exemplifies how partnering can bring diverse stakeholders together to work toward common goals.
  • Lackawaxen River Trail (LRT), Wayne County, LRT which began as a loosely formed group of residents, has become a trail powerhouse in Wayne County due to the partnerships they have formed over just 18 months. LRT has partnered with the County Commissioners, Wayne County Community Foundation, PA DCNR, PA FBC, Wayne County municipalities, Trout Unlimited, local business owners, and many more to secure funding, raise awareness, develop river access, create interpretive signage, and keep trail projects moving forward.
  • Penrose, Carbon County, Preservation of the 2,700‐acre Penrose Swamp Barrens property represents a decades‐long effort and partnership between local advocates, scientists, Wildlands Conservancy, and the PA DCNR Bureau of Forestry. The permanent protection of wetlands and forests at Penrose are key for sustaining clean, healthy water in the surrounding reaches of the Lehigh River watershed. The acquisition also protects a core Natural Heritage Area and an Important Bird Area, along with Penrose Creek and sections of Beaver and Hazle Creeks. Now, as part of Weiser State Forest, this property will provide public access to forested land and host a wide array of recreational opportunities.
  • Wilkes-Barre Worker Bees, Luzerne County, The all-volunteer Wilkes-Barre Worker Bees conduct bi-weekly to weekly cleanups throughout the city of Wilkes-Barre. To strengthen what they can accomplish with volunteers and expand their mission, the Worker Bees cultivated an array of partnerships with like-minded organizations such as Keep NEPA Beautiful, the City of Wilkes-Barre, local employers, and a local community garden group. Their accomplishments include tree plantings, numerous street and illegal dumpsite cleanups, community garden first planting of the season and a cleanup specifically to commemorate Juneteenth.

The 2022 Emerging Environmental Leader Award will be presented to Mitchell Kirby of Lackawanna County for demonstrating leadership, initiative, and dedication and exceptional personal attributes and skill sets which he repeatedly applied to the successful planning and execution of various volunteer work, and educational events with numerous partners. Mitchell worked over 200 hours of volunteer time with Lackawanna Heritage Valley’s Volunteer Coordinator, John Morrow resulting in the establishment of a collaborative relationship with Scranton Preparatory School to engage their students in volunteerism, environmentalism, and education. As the Co-Founder and Co-President of the Sustainable Life Society he recruited members to participate in several environmentally focused on the ground projects including invasive species removal and native tree and shrub plantings along the Lackawanna River Heritage Trail and the Lackawanna River and its tributaries.

Mitchell has consistently proven his leadership, intelligence, work ethic, and most of all, passion for environmental issues. His curious and intuitive nature, combined with an innate intelligence, has shown not only the ability to grasp learned knowledge, but to associate and apply what he learns to practice. After spending the summer as an intern at Lacawac Sanctuary, Mitchell will attend the University of Southern California to study Environmental Engineering.

The 28th Annual Thomas P. Shelburne Environmental Leadership Award will be presented to Michael Bedrin, Luzerne County. Mr. Bedrin is being honored for his more than 35 years of service and commitment to Pennsylvania’s environment. Mike worked for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania since 1986 and served as Regional Director of the Department of Environmental Protections Northeast Regional Office since 2004. He directed a staff of nearly 200 from six primary programs and worked closely with 11 conservation districts. From 1999 to 2004, he was Chief Counsel for the DEP – supervising more than 70 attorneys. Prior to 1999 Mike was Regional Counsel in DEP’s Northeast Office in Wilkes Barre. He also served as Assistant Counsel in DEP’s Southwest Regional Office in Pittsburgh.

Mike’s 35-year career was dedicated to the Department of Environmental Protection’s mission — to protect Pennsylvania’s air, land, and water from pollution and to provide for the health and safety of its citizens through a cleaner environment working as partners with individuals, organizations, governments, and businesses to prevent pollution and restore our natural resources. Mike’s partnerships as Regional Director and Chief Counsel were numerous. He brought together community interests, nonprofit organizations, advocates for local watersheds and individuals concerned with resource protection. He worked fairly with developers and government officials with investment and infrastructure needs. He was known for his reasonable and proportional compliance responses and transparent approach with regulated entities, community leaders and citizens of the Commonwealth.

Mike’s career touched the populations and natural resources in every corner of Northeastern Pennsylvania. His purview included all aspects of environmental regulation, including air quality, waste management, land recycling, storage tanks and hazardous site remediation, safe drinking water, sewage collection and wastewater, clean lakes, streams and rivers, dam safety, water obstructions and encroachments, local water quality and Chesapeake Bay countywide action planning, Growing Greener and other grant programs.

Mike went above and beyond his duties at DEP to further enhance and complement the mission of the agency by effectively increasing awareness and appreciation of our environmental wealth here in Northeastern PA through community partnerships and successful projects. He encouraged the development of these effective partnerships at the state, county and local level and supported watershed groups and nonprofits as they worked together with conservation districts. The quality of these partnerships has been remarkably effective as environmental protection, remediation, mitigation and avoidance and minimization of resources, as well as an appreciation for the values and benefits of natural resource conservation, has become widely accepted. The positive outlook of Mike’s work has been passed onto those around him and his fair and balanced approach towards environmental protection remains strong in those who served under and who were influenced by his leadership.


A Special Thank You to our Sponsors


Dinner Benefactors


Dinner Patrons

Alliance Landfill / Waste Management

DT Midstream

Mericle Commercial Real Estate Services


Dinner Sponsors

Barry Isett & Associates

Borton – Lawson

Earth Conservancy

LaBella Associates

Lacawac Sanctuary Field Station and Environmental Education Center

MotorWorld / MileOne Autogroup

Visit Luzerne County

Wilkes University

Wyoming Valley Sanitary Authority

For information on how to sponsor the event, please contact Angela Vitkoski at 570-718-6507, extension 201 or email [email protected]


November 3, 2022
5:00 pm - 9:00 pm