Evening for Northeast Pennsylvania’s Environment Honorees Announced

NEWS FROM: Northeast Environmental Partners

SAVE THE DATE for the – “26th Annual Evening for Northeast Pennsylvania’s Environment”

The dinner will be held on Thursday, October 20, 2016 at the Woodlands Inn and Resort, Wilkes-Barre, Pa.

Luzerne — The Northeast Environmental Partners (Northeastern Pennsylvania Alliance, Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, Pennsylvania Environmental Council’s Northeast Office, PPL Corporation, Procter & Gamble Paper Products Company, and Wilkes University) are pleased to announce that Terrence E. Sweeney, Ph.D., Professor and Chair of Biology at the University of Scranton will be this year’s Keynote Speaker. Lawrence M. Newman, Executive Director of the Diamond City Partnership will be the Master of Ceremonies for the 26th Annual Environmental Partnership Awards and Dinner.

  • Terrence E. Sweeney, Ph.D., a Professor and Chair of Biology at the University of Scranton, received his Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry and Physics from Colgate University and his Ph.D. in Biophysics from the University of Rochester. In 1992, after conducting five years of postdoctoral research as a member of the Physiology department at the University Of Arizona College Of Medicine, Sweeney joined the Biology faculty at the University of Scranton. Dr. Sweeney will be discussing the University of Scranton’s new course, Extreme Physiology, NEPA Edition. The course incorporates an Activity Site and Outreach Steering Committee, whose expertise in serving as stewards of Pennsylvania’s natural resources enable them to broaden the learning outcomes of the course. In addition to educating students about the synergism of nutrition and training in the enhancement of human physical performance and health, the course enabled students to learn how governmental and private organizations acquire, develop, and preserve lands for the betterment of the public, how such activities are funded and promoted, and how the students themselves can serve to further land conservation for the good of the public and the environment. The course also promoted an understanding of the breadth and locations of recreational opportunities that are available in the Northeastern Pennsylvania region.
  • Larry Newman, an urban planner and economic developer, is the founding Executive Director of the Diamond City Partnership, Wilkes-Barre’s nonprofit downtown management organization. For the past 15 years, he has planned and led the revitalization of downtown Wilkes-Barre and overseen many of the catalytic projects and initiatives undertaken there during that period. His downtown work has received statewide recognition for its community impact and embrace of “smart growth” principles, and he currently chairs the Board of Directors of the Pennsylvania Downtown Center – Pennsylvania’s statewide alliance of downtown revitalization organizations.

The Northeast Pennsylvania Environmental Partners are proud to announce the recipients of the Environmental Partnership Awards for 2016:

  • Buzzi Unicem USA Stockertown Plant, Northampton County, for its Hercules Meadow Project, an environmental project concept developed by the company to provide an outdoor classroom and experiential learning opportunity for local school students and others. The project provides a venue for students to learn environmental concepts as well as participate in actual projects that will protect and improve the water quality of the Bushkill Creek and surrounding area.
  • Lehman Sanctuary, Luzerne County, for providing a uniquely diverse teaching resource (the Lehman Sanctuary) for environmental education and S.T.E.M. activities for local schools. The Lehman Sanctuary provides students and educators with a local learning facility focused on watershed, habitat, and other eco-environmental education activities.
  • Richard Mitchell Jr., Luzerne County, for sharing his expertise on organic gardening, edible landscaping, and composting to instill an appreciation for nature among children and adults of all ages. Richard partners with numerous organizations to educate the community about our environment. Richard also tutors special needs children and teaches them to grow plants, while helping them develop skills and a passion for nature at the same time.
  • Tom Ogorzalek, Luzerne County, for his tireless efforts and numerous partnerships that made the Greater Hazleton Rail Trail (GHRT) a reality. Tom, an original founder of the GHRT, recognized an opportunity to connect people to the environment and promote healthy living through the development of this trail.
  • William Reichert, Schuylkill County, for being a champion for improving the quality of water within the northernmost reaches of the Schuylkill River watershed, especially by addressing the region’s legacy of mining and acid mine drainage. His practical approach to projects, mentoring of young volunteers, and incredible humility has made him a well-respected conservation leader in Schuylkill County and beyond.
  • Tobyhanna Conservation Association, Monroe County, for their community engagement, conservation, and environmental education efforts. The TCA charters states that “conservation, a state of harmony between man and the land, and the proper harvesting of fish and game so as to retain nature’s delicate balance, shall be the purpose of this organization.” TCA has partnered with numerous organizations to fulfill this mission.

The Emerging Environmental Leader Award will be presented this year to Margaret (Maggie) Capooci, Lackawanna County, for demonstrating leadership, initiation, and dedication to protecting and promoting a healthy environment. Maggie is a recent graduate of the University of Scranton with a degree in Environmental Science and Philosophy. While Maggie was a student at the University she was a leader with respect to promoting sustainability to the campus and local community. She served in a leadership role on campus as vice president for one year and president of the Sustainability Club for two years. She was able to impact sustainability for future generations in the local community by offering and leading sustainability-oriented with local children. This was done during events like safe trick or treating, Evening of Environmental Science, and the Environmental Essay Contests. In the past three years Maggie has helped originate, plan, staff, participate, judge, set up, and clean up approximately 44 events along with her heavy academic load as a double major. Maggie will be continuing her education by attending the University of Delaware to pursue a Ph.D. in Water Science & Policy. Maggie is certainly a dedicated and accomplished young environmental leader.

The 22nd annual Thomas P. Shelburne Environmental Leadership Award will be presented this year to: Don Miller of Monroe County. Mr. Miller is being honored for his dedication and commitment to the environment of Monroe County and beyond. A teacher, naturalist, and outdoorsman, Mr. Miller has been a clear and consistent advocate for the Pocono environment for over 35 years. Recently retired from a distinguished career as a technology instructor and teacher with the Pocono Mountain School District, Don is still pursuing his real vocation as a partner and advocate for all manner of conservation causes. He is a founding member and past president of the Pocono Heritage Land Trust, current Board Member and past president of the Brodhead Watershed Association, serves on the Monroe County Open Space Advisory Board, the Paradise Township Environmental Advisory Committee, and the Barrett, Paradise, and Mt. Pocono Regional Open Space Committees. He assisted in the creation of both the Tannersville Cranberry Bog Preserve and the Kurmes/Paradise Creek Nature Preserve, not to mention the Fieldstone Farm Preserve and the Yankee Run Preserve. He has been recognized numerous times over the years for his work as a conservationist, including awards from the Pennsylvania Environmental Council, the Monroe County Conservation District, the Brodhead Watershed Association, and the Monroe County Waste Authority. He is well known for leading nature walks to help others discover and appreciate the environmental treasures of the region. Don’s years of service to the community, ability to create successful partnerships, and his dedication to preserving the beauty of the Poconos, make him a true leader in the environmental arena of Northeastern Pennsylvania.

For more information on the awards dinner or to receive an invitation, please contact PEC at 570-718-6507.