Forging New Partnerships in Northeastern PA

This year, The Northeast Environmental Partners recognized five projects at the 2022 Northeast Environmental Partnership Awards dinner for going above and beyond in forging new connections between their communities and local environmental assets. 

From new water trail access points to educational murals in unlikely spots, volunteers with Bowmanstown Area Residents Connected (BARC) and the Lackawaxen River Trail were both recognized for their work to better their communities and encourage people to get outdoors. Both groups took advantage of existing outdoor recreation features, like the D&L trail and the Lackawaxen River, recognizing the draw these spaces have for tourism and businesses, as well as the health and wellness benefits they can bring to the community. 

Meanwhile, other groups worked to preserve and beautify natural spaces, from city blocks to remote forests and wetlands. The Wilkes-Barre Worker Bees were recognized for their work leading neighborhood cleanups and tree and community garden plantings. Another citizen-led effort by local advocates, scientists, Wildlands Conservancy, and the DCNR Bureau of Forestry led to the acquisition and preservation of the 2,700‐acre Penrose Swamp Barrens property, a rare ecological treasure as well as a beloved local fishing spot, now part of Weiser State Forest. While the kinds of spaces they’re addressing may look vastly different, these projects both help protect the environment and provide more opportunities for people in NE Pennsylvania to connect with nature. 

Exemplifying how successful partnerships can bring diverse stakeholders together to work toward common goals, Kathy Henderson was recognized for her work on a Return on Investment Study in Carbon County. As a steadfast champion of building nature-based economies, she educated local stakeholders on how economic investment and conservation can go hand-in-hand.