Northeast Pennsylvania Environmental Partners Announce Award Recipients

“An Evening for Pennsylvania’s Environment” – The Nineteenth Annual Environmental Partnership Awards Dinner will be held on Thursday, October 22, 2009 at 5:00pm at the Woodlands Inn & Resort, Rte 315, Wilkes-Barre, PA. Eight (8) 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 NINETEENTH ANNUAL ENVIRONMENTAL PARTNERSHIP AWARDS ANNOUNCED – The Northeast Pennsylvania Environmental Partners are proud to announce the recipients of the Environmental Partnership Awards for 2009:

Abington Area Joint Recreation Board, Lackawanna County: The Recreation Board is being honored for the creation of a 100 acre recreation area located along Winola Road in Clarks Summit. The Recreation Board was established in 1972 and consists of 4 partnering municipalities: Clarks Green and Clarks Summit Borough and Glenburn and South Abington Townships.  During the course of the last 37 years, the Recreation Board has developed two softball fields, two soccer fields, a public lake, nature trails, picnicking area, a community garden, remote controlled air field and a Regional Senior Center.

Alliance Landfill, Apex Waste Services & Beach Lake Transfer Station, Lackawanna County: Alliance Landfill and its sister companies are being honored for their wildlife habitat, environmental education and community and watershed cleanup support. Alliance Landfill has created and/or enhanced 450 acres of wildlife habitat in its Duryea Wetland and Community Landscape Project which has had a measurable positive impact on local wildlife populations.  Over 20 new bird species were identified in the projects area between 2004 and 2006.   Alliance Landfill has educated over 2,000 children through the Camp Kestrel Habitat workshops on improving wildlife habitat and conserving resources.  Alliance, Apex and Beach Lake have donated transportation and/ or disposal of 74 tons of waste and 157 tons of tires since 2007 to local partners coordinating community cleanups.

Catawissa Creek Restoration Association, Columbia County: The Restoration Association is being honored for it’s restoration activities in the 152 square mile Catawissa Watershed that has been negatively impacted by acid mine drainage (AMD). The Association in partnership with non-profit organizations, conservation districts, federal, state and local government agencies and local land owners has secured funding and technical support to construct three passive treatment systems on the largest AMD discharges in the watershed which will abate 80% of the AMD pollution to the watershed. To date, two of the treatment systems have been constructed and the third is in the process of construction.

Delaware Highlands Conservancy, Wayne County: The Conservancy is being honored for their creation of the Shop Local, Save Land Program.  This Program joins local and regional businesses in a marketing network and puts local residents and visitors to the Upper Delaware River watershed region together with the agricultural and wood products businesses whose economic success is imperative to the maintenance of the region’s rural character and ecological success. The Conservancy partnered with the local Conservation Districts, tourist promotion agencies, and county agencies and others to develop the Shop Local, Save Land Guides to Farms and Farm Markets and Guide to Wood Products.

Palmira Gregory Miller, Luzerne County: Ms Miller is being honored for her role as Event Coordinator for the 2009 Great American Cleanup of PA which consisted of three Events:1) Newport Township Community Pride Event (cleanup of main roads through-out the township); 2) Big Junk  Drop Off Event (township residents were able to discard large junk items at this Newport Township Community Organization sponsored event) and 3) Partnered with the Pennsylvania Environmental Council to cleanup up 5 illegal dump sites in Newport Township.

Jamie Reeger, Wayne County: Ms. Reeger is being honored for her 20-year career in environmental education.  During her career, through many partnering activities, Ms Reeger built an environmental education program and the summer camp program at the Bear Creek Nature Center, was part of the Monroe County Conservation District Environmental Education Center team, was instrumental in the creation of an ecology program for 7th and 8th grade students for all IU 19 schools, coordinated the effort to provide free continuing education credits for teachers through professional development workshops and most recently is the Director of the Environmental Institute at Lackawanna College.  As Director of the Institute, Ms Reeger has developed an environmental education program for the general public and K-12 school students.

Trout Trails & Tales – Brodhead Watershed Association and Pocono Arts Council, Monroe County: The Watershed Association and Arts Council are being honored for the Trout Trails and Tales Program.  This Program was a community art project with the goal of increasing community awareness about the interrelationships between land use, stream flows and healthy trout populations. Program partners included the Delaware River Basin Commission, USEPA, Monroe County Conservation District and Planning Commission, PA Fish and Boat Commission and the US Geological Society.

Wildlands Conservancy, Lehigh County: The Conservancy is being honored for their 35 year history of conservation and environmental stewardship in the Lehigh Valley.  In partnership with local and state government agencies, municipalities, non-profit organizations, businesses and individuals, the Conservancy has preserved 47,000 acres of open space, educated more than 300,000 students and adults, maintained trail systems and developed and implemented several watershed-management plans.

The Fifteenth Annual Thomas P. Shelburne Environmental Leadership Award will be presented this year to: Joseph G. DeMarco, Wyoming County:   Mr. Demarco is being honored for his dedication to the environment in northeastern Pennsylvania for over the last 30 years.  During his tenure with Proctor and Gamble Paper Products -Mehoopany (P&G), Mr. Demarco was a strong environmental advocate who knew that a strong healthy business and healthy environment are additive, not competitive.  Mr. DeMarco created a forest management plan and sustainable logging program, administered gypsy moth control programs without using chemical applications, built a nature trail, and was an Earth Day advocate.  Mr. DeMarco was the Chairperson for the Board of Audubon Pennsylvania for many years.  During this time, Mr. DeMarco guided the organization through a time of change.  According to Tim Schaeffer, a former Executive Director of PA Audubon, “Joe Demarco was a compass, a rudder, and a sail all rolled into one for Audubon Pennsylvania. He helped to set the course and define the vision for the organization through multiple planning efforts, kept staff and programs steady and on track through difficult times, and gave everyone the push and motivation they needed to move forward”.  Additionally, Mr. DeMarco volunteered many hours for the annual Bird-a-thon, a fundraising event for Audubon as well as assisted in the development of the Pennsylvania Breeding Bird Atlas.  Mr. Demarco also served as a Board Member for the Pennsylvania Environmental Council (PEC) for over ten years.  Mr. Demarco brought his experience in corporate America and provided insights on how to better integrate environmental programs and projects with business interests.  Mr. Demarco also dedicated an enormous amount of volunteer effort as the chairman of the Dinner for the Northeastern Pennsylvania’s Environment, both during his time at P&G and for many years after his retirement. Most recently, Mr. DeMarco volunteers on the Advisory Board of the Countryside Conservancy and is working with the Endless Mountains Nature Center to organize and conduct bird walks.

This year’s Keynote address will be given by Mr. John Serrao, Naturalist and Writer-Photographer. Mr. Serrao has worked as a naturalist, educator and consultant since 1972, including 11 years as the Director of Greenbrook Sanctuary in New Jersey. At Greenbrook, John conducted natural resource inventories and field studies on small mammals, breeding birds, migrating hawks, and habitat management for reptiles and amphibians, and his work was published in scientific journals. Now a freelance naturalist and writer-photographer in the Poconos, Mr. Serrao is the resident naturalist at Skytop Resort and writes a column, “Pocono Outdoors” for The Pocono Record each Sunday. He is a regular instructor for the Pocono Environmental Education Center, Lacawac Sanctuary, Pennsylvania Power & Light, Shawnee Inn, Tobyhanna State Park, Monroe County Vo-Tech Adult Education School, The Nature Conservancy, and community associations, municipalities, resorts, conference centers, parks, schools, sanctuaries. Outdoor clubs, camps, and nature centers in the Poconos. John has written self-guiding trail booklets for many of theses places. Mr. Serrao’s photographs have been featured at zoos and museums around the country and have appeared in National Wildlife, Birders’ World, National Audubon, Nature Conservancy, Sierra Club, and 50 other magazines, as well as 12 Audubon field guides, and over 100 nature books and science texts. In addition to 40 articles for magazines, John has written seven books: The Wild Palisades of the Hudson (1986); Nature’s Events (1992, Stackpole Books); Scenes of Skytop (1992); The Reptiles and Amphibians of the Poconos (2000); Seasons of Skytop (2003); Mammals of Northeast PA (2005); and The Natural Pocono Mountains (2008).

This year’s Dinner Chair will be Robert J. Barkanic. Mr. Barkanic was appointed to his position in government relations at PPL in August 2008. Barkanic was formerly director of PPL’s Environmental Management Department. PPL Corporation, based in Allentown, Pennsylvania, is a Fortune 500 company with over 10,000 megawatts of generation capacity and about six million customers worldwide. Prior to joining PPL, he was the deputy secretary for the Office of Air, Recycling and Radiation Protection for the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.

This year’s Dinner Master of Ceremonies will be Bill Kelly, President and Chief Executive Officer of WVIA.In over 30 years at WVIA, Bill Kelly has held a variety of leadership roles. In 1991 he was elected president and chief executive officer of the WVIA stations. Most recently his concentration has been securing WVIA’s next several decades with digital technology and the program and project planning to make it transformational for all regional users of media. His commitment to community service through broadcasting has resulted in several influential, locally produced television and radio programs, including series and documentaries. Kelly has served as trustee of several regional organizations and is past chairman of Bloomsburg University’s trustees and adjunct faculty member for over a decade.

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.