FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
September 20, 2021
NEWS FROM: Northeast Environmental Partners
CONTACT: Janet Sweeney, Pennsylvania Environmental Council
EMAIL: [email protected]
NORTHEAST PENNSYLVANIA ENVIRONMENTAL PARTNERS ANNOUNCE
Luzerne – The Northeast Environmental Partners, which is comprised of the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, Pennsylvania Environmental Council, PPL Corporation, Procter & Gamble Paper Products Company, and Wilkes University, are pleased to announce the 31st Annual Evening for Northeast Pennsylvania’s Environment will be held virtually this year on Wednesday, November 10, 2021.
RECIPIENTS OF THE 31st ANNUAL ENVIRONMENTAL PARTNERSHIP AWARDS:
- Alliance Landfill – Waste Management, Lackawanna County, for their outreach and educational programs designed to support lifelong learning in the community. The Alliance conducts tours, environmental education programs, and presentations for the community and school groups. Their Camp Kestrel Habitat program highlights the efforts of the Alliance Habitat team to install and monitor bat, wood duck, songbird, and American kestrel boxes well as mallard duck nesting structures. Facility tours serve as a “classroom in the community” on topics such as waster disposal, renewable energy, and the importance of recycling.
- Greater Wyoming Valley Audubon Society, Luzerne County, for their educational activities and community outreach to instill an appreciation for the natural beauty and biodiversity of Luzerne and Wyoming Counties and beyond. The GWVAS encourages member and community activism on environmental issues, promotes the preservation of nature and the sustainable use of the earth’s natural resources, and protects areas that are significant to nature and natural history.
- Northeast Regional Office PA Game Commission, Luzerne County, for their numerous educational program offerings including the annual Envirothon in partnership with County Conservation Districts, providing wildlife education to high school students, their “Grow with the Flow” program, and their many Hunters Safety programs. These programs support the agency’s goals to protect flora, fauna, and downstream natural resources; enhance habitat; protect natural lands; restore streams; manage and enhance wetlands; and reduce invasive species — all to benefit the wildlife, fishery resources and outdoor recreation of the over 415,000 acres of state game lands.
- The Stourbridge Solar Project, Wayne County, for a public-private partnership to own and operate a 33.2kW solar array that will ultimately produce 40MWh annually, offsetting the burning of more than 5 tons of coal, and reducing harmful emissions. Led by the Clean Energy Cooperative, the project stakeholders were able to utilize community knowledge and experience acquired from similar past projects to create a cost-effective plan for the array that was supported by numerous for-profit and nonprofit organizations, and by Wayne County. In addition, the Co-op created an educational kiosk and a mini documentary about the project to increase knowledge about solar energy and the power of collaboration in a community.
The 2021 Young Emerging Leader Award will be presented to Haylee Czyzyk of Lackawanna County for demonstrating leadership, initiative, and dedication to protecting and promoting a healthy and clean environment. Haylee is a sophomore at Commonwealth Academy whose service and advocacy for the environment are inspired by a love of the outdoors, and by the experience of seeing trash along local trails. Her Girl Scout Gold Star project is focused on cleaning up litter and illegal dumping, as well as encouraging recycling and beautification efforts in her community. Haylee’s future plans include more environmental work, and a possible career in the Coast Guard cleaning up oil spills.
The 27th Annual Thomas P. Shelburne Environmental Leadership Award will be presented to Tom Kerr, Lehigh and Northampton Counties. Mr. Kerr is being honored for his more than 35 years of devotion to the protection and conservation of land and water resources in Pennsylvania. He has worked tirelessly, both in his professional life and as a volunteer, to champion conservation causes. He has shown business and government leaders alike the value of conservation by connecting them directly to the land and water resources.
His many accomplishments during his 20-year tenure as Executive Director of Wildlands Conservancy include the protection of 45,000 acres of greenspace, establishment of the Lehigh River Water Trail, the popular Bike and Boat Program, the Lehigh River Sojourn, and the design and construction of several public parks including the unique Bob Rodale Cycling and Fitness Park in Trexlertown. Mr. Kerr also championed a campaign to raise $67 million open-space conservation in Lehigh and Northampton Counties.
Mr. Kerr revolutionized how land trusts connect with the broader public by bringing people to the resource, be it through paddling trips on the river or hiking in their preserves. As a result, the Conservancy’s outreach and educational programs have touched hundreds of thousands of people of all ages, sharing an appreciation of nature, the importance of land conservation, and the value of stewardship.
In 1995, Mr. Kerr founded the Pennsylvania Land Trust Association, now We Conserve PA and was integral in organizing the first statewide land trust conference.
Following his retirement from the conservancy, he provided consulting services to government agencies and others to help them protect natural resources and enhance outdoor recreation. He contracted with the City of Allentown to establish a sustainability office, and later joined HOR Engineering, Inc., where he managed select projects including the development of the Allentown waterfront.
Mr. Kerr also served on the Conservation and Natural Resources Advisory Council of DCNR and more recently on his local Environmental Advisory Council.
Prior to his tenure at Wildlands, he served as director of administration for Hawk Mountain, the position that brought him to Kempton where he continues to connect people through paddling, cycling, birding, and hiking.
Tom’s dedication and commitment to the community and the environment will serve as a role model for future generations to come.
For more information on the virtual awards event and how you can attend or sponsor, please contact PEC at 570-718-6507 or [email protected] or visit the website at www.pecpa.org and click on “events.”