Northeast Environmental Partners Announce Dinner and Awards Recipients

“An Evening for Pennsylvania’s Environment” – The Twentieth Annual Environmental Partnership Awards Dinner will be held on Thursday, October 14, 2010 at 5:00pm at the Woodlands Inn & Resort, Rte 315, Wilkes-Barre, PA. Seven (7) recipients of the Environmental Partnership Award and the Thomas P. Shelburne Environmental Leadership Award Recipient will be honored. To receive information or an invitation to the Awards Dinner, please call the Pennsylvania Environmental Council at 570-718-6507.

RECIPIENTS OF THE TWENTIETH ANNUAL ENVIRONMENTAL PARTNERSHIP AWARDS ANNOUNCED – The Northeast Pennsylvania Environmental Partners are proud to announce the recipients of the Environmental Partnership Awards for 2010:

Field Habitat Partnership at Nescopeck State Park, Luzerne County: Field Habitat Partnership is being honored for their work to restore over sixty acres of old fields located within Nescopeck State Park in Butler Township, Luzerne County in an area known as the old Hoda Farm. The fields had been invaded by exotic plant species and the Field Habitat Partnership restored the area to a valuable wildlife habitat built on a foundation of native shrubs and grasses. The Field Habitat Partnership is a joint effort of the Honey Hole Longbeards Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation, the PA Chapter of Pheasants Forever and the PA Chapter of the Ruffed Grouse Society. Field Habitat Partnership utilized the Wildlife Habitat Management Plan prepared by the PA Game Commission to guide their habitat restoration. The Field Habitat Partnership remains dedicated to the improvement of wildlife habitat for both game and non-game species and continues to identify long term habitat improvements for the Hoda Farm site.
Susan Gallagher, Chief Naturalist, Carbon County Environmental Education Center (CCEEC), Carbon County: Ms. Gallagher is being honored for her work as the planner, teacher and coordinator of all the environmental educational activities at the CCEEC. Ms. Gallagher has been with the CCEEC since 1988 and became the Chief Naturalist in 1998. Ms Gallagher combines her environmental education and wildlife rehabilitation skills to provide CCEEC visitors with a unique perspective of the results of human interaction with our natural environment and wildlife. Among her other activities, Ms. Gallagher is a licensed wildlife rehabilitator, a volunteer for the Carbon County Ground Water Guardians, a member of the WNEP-TV’s “Pennsylvania Outdoor Life” field staff, and holds a seat on the PA Game Commission’s Wildlife Rehabilitation Council. Throughout her career she has demonstrated a deep concern for the environment and has devoted her life to environmental education and wildlife.

Keystone Active Zone Passport Program, Luzerne County: The Keystone Active Zone Passport Program is being honored for it’s successful efforts at inspiring thousands of Luzerne County residents to “get outside” and be active. The mission of the Passport Program is to inspire and encourage people of all ages and abilities to get outside and be active at close-to-home parks, trails, organized walks and events over the spring and summer in order to improve their health and well-being. Passport Program partners include the Wyoming Valley Wellness Trails Partnership, the Greater Hazleton Rails to Trails and Live Well Luzerne County under the Wilkes-Barre YMCA, as well as, over seventy (70) other planning and promotion, media, prize and funding organizations. Participants in the Passport Program register via a website, where they then download a passport which lists opportunities for outdoor activities. Participants earn incentives for every five stops they visit, as well as, receive health messages, bi-monthly e-mail updates and are entered to win prizes at the conclusion of the program. In 2009, the Passport Program had an impressive 915 participants and currently has 605 people registered for the 2010 program.
Ryan Koch, Natural Resource Conservation Service Coordinator, Lackawanna County: Mr. Koch is being honored for his work and achievements in bringing together partners, organizations and individuals to work on a variety of environmental projects including native grasses, bio-fuels and sustainable energy. Mr. Koch has built solid partnerships with organizations such as local farmers, County Conservation Districts, PA Game Commission, Ernst Conservation Seeds, the Eastern Pennsylvania Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation and the Benton School District in Columbia County. Mr. Koch in partnership with these and other organizations was able to leverage State, Federal, Foundation, Wildlife groups and other funding for community projects throughout the region. Mr. Koch has promoted and coordinated the expansion of native switch grass plantings in Northeastern Pennsylvania.
Don Miller, Technology Instructor at Clear Run Elementary Center, Monroe County: Mr. Miller is being honored for his efforts to preserve Monroe County’s natural resources via his career as an educator as well as his numerous other activities. As an educator, Mr. Miller incorporates environmental lessons regarding conservation through innovative lessons and activities for elementary students. Among his other accomplishments, Mr. Miller was the 2005 Conservation Educator of the Year, a Naturalist at the Monroe County Conservation District, and a member of the Monroe County Open Space Advisory Board, the Barrett/Paradise and Mt. Pocono Regional Open Space Board and the Paradise Township Environmental Advisory Council, a member of the Pocono Heritage Land Trust Board of Directors and sits on the Nature Conservancy’s Tannersville Cranberry Bog Preserve Committee. Mr. Miller’s commitment to preserving and enhancing the environmental assets of Monroe County via numerous capacities have all made a difference in the quality of life enjoyed by residents and visitors alike.
Schuylkill County Sportsmen’s Association Inc., Schuylkill County: The Schuylkill County Sportsmen’s Association, Inc. is being honored for their activities to protect and manage the fish and wildlife habitat of Schuylkill County, as well as, their efforts to teach Schuylkill County residents regarding the importance of the outdoors and environment. The Association has partnered with the Schuylkill County Conservation District, the Pennsylvania Game Commission, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, as well as, many others to further their efforts to teach an appreciation of our outdoor heritage and environment. The Association conducts several educational programs including a week long resident camp for teenagers who learn about forestry, aquatic biology and other natural sciences, a Youth Field Day which involves children and their parents in service projects such as building stream improvement devices and bird and bat boxes, and a Schuylkill County Woman’s Outdoor Day where approximately thirty women spend a day fishing, canoeing, shooting and learning about the environment.
Dr. Jerry M. Skinner, Susquehanna County: Dr. Skinner is being honored for his outstanding achievements as a professor of biology at Keystone College, educator for the Keystone College Environmental Education Institute and the resident Naturalist and Volunteer Steward at the Nature Conservancy’s Woodbourne Forest and Wildlife Sanctuary in Susquehanna County. In addition to his work as a Biology Professor at Keystone College, Dr. Skinner teaches a variety of courses including the “Flora and Fauna of Pennsylvania” (created by Dr. Skinner) for teachers enrolled in the Keystone College Environmental Education Institute, conducts nature education and natural history activities in partnership with Lackawanna State Park, Salt Springs State Park and Endless Mountains Nature Center, conducts aquatic fauna studies in the Ackerly Creek Watershed and lead the Eco Club at Keystone College. Dr. Skinner has partnered with numerous other environmental education and conservation organizations in Northeastern Pennsylvania in order continue his work educating the thousands of budding naturalists and scientists so that they can go on and do good work in their own right teaching, conserving and inspiring.

The Sixteenth Annual Thomas P. Shelburne Environmental Leadership Award will be presented this year to: Tim Herd, Monroe County: Mr. Herd is being honored for his dedication to providing environmental education and promoting community collaboration for the benefit of the environment in Northeastern Pennsylvania for over the last 30 years. Mr. Herd has been engaged in environmental leadership, education and developing partnerships to help reconnect people to the land for the past 32 years. He began his career at the Somerset County New Jersey Environmental Education Center as an interpretive naturalist teaching environmental stewardship. Mr. Herd continued his career by founding the Roving Nature Center which brought the staffing, equipment and resources of a traveling environmental education facility to any indoor or outdoor venue. Through this program, Mr. Herd helped hundreds of Pennsylvania schools meet the state educational standards for Environment & Ecology. Mr. Herd also served as the Recycling Coordinator for the City of Bethlehem and during his tenure there he organized and implemented the public recycling program for the city which included mandatory and voluntary operations, facilities, public education, recycling markets and compliance, as well as, founded the Professional Recyclers of Pennsylvania. Currently, Mr. Herd is the Executive Director of the Stroud Region Open Space and Recreation Commission where he is responsible for developing and managing all open space, greenways, parks, a community center and other recreation properties of the municipal commission, as well as, provides direction and leadership in short and long range planning to the Board and officers of the Commission. While his specific job responsibilities have varied over the years, Mr. Herd has applied the same leadership principles and methods of environmental education and developing community partnerships to make a positive impact on environmental stewardship.

This year’s Keynote address will be given by Ms. Joanne Denworth, Land Use and Environmental Lawyer. Ms. Denworth is a land use and environmental lawyer, who has been working in Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell’s Office of Policy since March, 2003. She has responsibility for working with state agencies on policy issues relating to land use, community development, environmental protection, conservation and recreation, transportation, water and sewer infrastructure, agriculture, and historic preservation. For the prior four years she was founder and president of a statewide initiative, 10,000 Friends of Pennsylvania, dedicated to revitalizing cities and towns, conserving rural lands, and reducing sprawl.

Before founding 10,000 Friends in 1999, she was president of the Pennsylvania Environmental Council for 12 years, where she spearheaded coalitions for land use law reform, enhancement of urban environments, and regional action to promote open space protection and resource-conserving development. As a practicing lawyer, she worked on community development and redevelopment projects, as well as environmental matters.

Joanne is co-author and editor of Guiding Growth (1993), a growth management handbook for municipalities, and primary author of Planning Beyond Boundaries (2002), a manual on multi-municipal planning and implementation. She has written numerous articles on land use and environmental issues, served as a judge on the Environmental Hearing Board of Pennsylvania, been a township solicitor, and taught at the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of City and Regional Planning. She served on the 21st Century Environment Commission’s Land Use Team and Governor Ridge’s Sound Land Use Advisory Committee. She has been active in a number of civic organizations in Philadelphia where she lives. She is a graduate of Vassar College and the University of Pennsylvania Law School.

The Environmental Partnership Awards and Dinner is an annual event. In presenting these awards, the Partners: Wilkes University, Pennsylvania Environmental Council’s NE Office, Northeastern Pennsylvania Alliance, Procter & Gamble Paper Products Company, PPL Corporation and PA DEP/PA DCNR join together to recognize outstanding accomplishments and teamwork in achieving excellence in environmental protection or conservation in NEPA.

The Awards are open to any group, individual, company, program, or organization located in Northeastern Pennsylvania – or whose work has had a positive impact on the environment of the Northeastern Pennsylvania community of the following counties: Bradford, Carbon, Columbia, Lackawanna, Lehigh, Luzerne, Monroe, Montour, Northumberland, Northampton, Pike, Schuylkill, Sullivan, Susquehanna, Wayne & Wyoming.

If you would like to do a feature article on any of the above, please contact Janet Sweeney or Angela Vitkoski at the Pennsylvania Environmental Office at 570-718-6507.

For information on the event, visit