Northeast PA Environmental Partners Announce Dinner, Awards Recipients

Northeast Pennsylvania Environmental Partners are proud to announce the recipients of the Environmental Partnership Awards for 2008:

Countryside Conservancy, Lackawanna County for their work to protect important lands and waters in Northeastern Pennsylvania. To date, the Conservancy has directly protected over 1,000 acres of our countryside for the future and helped in countless ways to promote a conservation ethic throughout the three counties in which it works: Lackawanna, Susquehanna and Wyoming. The Conservancy is dedicated to bettering our quality of life by protecting the most important land and water assets in the region. The volunteers, members, Board and staff of the Conservancy have been tireless in seeking new audiences for its conservation message. The organization has partnered with local governments, schools and colleges, scout troops, recreational groups, concerned citizens and landowners to reach their accomplishments.

Tim Ference, Luzerne County, for his dedication to conservation work within Luzerne County. Tim is Chairman on the Conyngham Borough Planning Commission, is Vice Chairman on the Board of Directors for the Luzerne Conservation District, sits on the Eastern PA Coalition of Abandoned Mine Reclamation Board, and is heavily involved in the Friends of the Nescopeck (FON) Watershed Association. Tim has been instrumental in not only organizing and coordinating various events for all the organizations he’s involved with, but has also been the key person to secure the funding necessary to make these projects happen.

Monroe County Conservation District, Monroe County, for its partnerships with groups ranging from land and water conservancies, builders/developers and the economic development community to local, state and federal government agencies to develop science-based policies for sustainable development. For being a leader among conservation districts in natural resource conservation, in environmental education, and in engaging a wide variety of partners in environmental protection. The District has built a reputation and national recognition for its environmental education program and its work with municipal governments in “institutionalizing” environmental protection in local land use regulations.

David & Judy Rimple, Luzerne County, for their partnership efforts in developing Anthracite Scenic Trails Association which has developed the Back Mountain Trail and the Black Diamond Trail. The development of these two trails was made possible with many partnerships with local communities (Luzerne and Dallas Boroughs and Dallas and Kingston Townships and Luzerne County), area non-profit organizations (Back Mountain Trail Council, Mountain Top Trail Council, Back Mountain Bloomers, Back Mountain Library, Back Mountain and Luzerne Business Associations, Pennsylvania Environmental Association and the Delaware and Lehigh National Heritage Corridor Association) and State Agencies (PA Dot and PA DCNR).

Susquehanna Warrior Trail Council, Luzerne County, for their partnership efforts in the creation of the Susquehanna Warrior Trail, an 18 mile trail located along the Susquehanna River in Luzerne County. The development of this trail was made possible through many partnerships with local communities (Larksville, Plymouth and Shickshinny Boroughs, Hunlock, Plymouth , Union, and Salem Townships, Luzerne County) Non-profit organizations (ASTA, Earth Conservancy, Shickshinny Business Association, Shickshinny Historical Society, Berwick Health and Wellness Foundation), Local Businesses/Industry (PPL, UGI, Penn Natural Gas, UGI Electric and Sunoco Pipe Line) and State Government (PA DOT and PA DCNR).

Don & Wendy Sweppenheiser, Wyoming County, for their partnership efforts to adopt and beautify several areas in the borough of Tunkhannock. To establish a Shade Tree Commission in Tunkhannock, which lead to the enactment of a shade tree ordinance and the designation of Tunkhannock as a Tree City USA. They encouraged homeowner water management and established a NWF certified backyard habitat as a model for others. They established a NWF certified wildlife sanctuary near a Tunkhannock Highway bypass and also established composting workshops, open to the public which resulted in the distribution of several hundred DEP compost bins to attendees and others.

The 14th Annual Thomas P. Shelburne Environmental Leadership Award will be presented this year to:

David Lamereaux, Lackawanna County, for his 41 years of environmental service to Northeastern Pennsylvania. Mr. Lamereaux retired in 2005 after 38 years of public service with the PA Department of Health, PA Department of Environmental Resources and the PA Department of Environmental Protection. During this time he worked closely with citizens, legislators, environmental organizations, county and local municipal officials and other state agencies throughout a 14 county region in northeastern Pennsylvania. Mr Lamereaux was the first PA DEP Deputy Director in the Northeast Region of which he held the position for 17 years. During this tenure Mr. Lamereaux was instrumental in several key initiatives including the Training and Certification of Sewage Enforcement Officers; the Development and Management of the first PA DEP Northeast Regional Pollution Prevention Program; the Development and Management of the first PA DEP Northeast Regional Citizen Complaint Reporting; the Development and Management of the initial PA DEP Regional Emergency Response Program; and he organized the PA DEP Adopt-A-Highway program for the Luzerne County Lower Cross Valley Highway and personally led every cleanup during his last five years at work. Part of this effort included 5 students from Hanover High School who utilized their work with him as part of a senior project. Since his retirement he has been involved as president with a group known as the Gravity Slope Colliery Historical Committee which spearheaded the restoration of three old mining buildings in the borough of Archbald. The buildings and property have been acquired, plans developed, mining artifacts accumulated, and plans are underway to convert the site into a museum which will include a Fan House with one of the last known remaining wooden Guibal Fans which pumped air to miners working in the mines below. Other volunteer activities include participating on the Delaware Water Gap Committee, National Park Service Beautification Projects, several Earth Day Cleanups, the Annual Delaware Cleanup, and the Delaware River Sojourn Committee.

This year’s Keynote address will be given by Peter Danchak of PNC Bank: Mr. Danchak is regional president of PNC Bank, Northeast PA. Mr. Danchak joined PNC Bank in 1984 as a corporate banking trainee in the credit department. He worked his way through the corporate banking ranks and was named regional president of the Northeast PA Market of PNC Bank in January of 2001. PNC has more buildings certified by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) than any other company in the world. Mr. Danchak’s presentation will focus on the green building efforts of PNC Bank.

The Environmental Partnership Awards and Dinner is an annual event. In presenting these awards, the Partners: Wilkes University, Pennsylvania Environmental Council’s NE Office, Northeast 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.