Nominations Accepted for PACD Conservation Awards

Do you know a staff person, director, or associate director who has gone above and beyond the call of duty? A legislator who champions conservation legislation? Or a Pennsylvania resident or Pennsylvania-based organization you would like to recognize for their contributions in support of environmental recreation? If so, nominate them for a PACD award!

The awards are:

  • Ann Rudd Saxman Conservation District Director or Associate Director Excellence Award
  • Conservation District Employee Excellence Award
  • Legislator Leadership Award
  • Maurice K. Goddard Award for Excellence in Environmental Recreation

The deadline for nominations is April 30, 2021. Click here for more information and the nomination forms. Nominations should be emailed to Diane Young at

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Greene County Student Wins Second Place in National Poster Contest

In partnership with the NACD Auxiliary, the National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD) announced the winners of the 2020 Photo Contest and 2020 Poster Contest during the virtual 75th NACD Annual Meeting.

Congratulations to the second-place winner in the K-1 grade category, Payton Duncan of Greene County, PA!

The winners listed will receive cash prizes courtesy of the NACD Auxiliary, made possible by the Auxiliary’s quilt project proceeds; the Auxiliary Country Store at the NACD Annual Meeting; and the generosity of individual donors. All contest participants will receive a certificate of participation. View the winning photos and the winning posters on NACD’s Flickr page

Click here to read about the 2021 poster contest. 

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Franklin County Farm Wins Pennsylvania Leopold Conservation Award

Screenshot from the 2020 Pennsylvania Leopold Conservation Award – Slate Ridge Dairy Farm video.

Slate Ridge Dairy Farm is the 2020 recipient of the Pennsylvania Leopold Conservation Award®.

Given in honor of renowned conservationist Aldo Leopold, the prestigious award recognizes farmers, ranchers and foresters who inspire others with their dedication to land, water and wildlife habitat resources in their care.

In Pennsylvania, the $10,000 award is presented annually by Sand County Foundation, American Farmland Trust, The Heinz Endowments, and Pennsylvania Farm Bureau.

Ben and Sharon Peckman, who own and operate Slate Ridge Dairy Farm near St. Thomas receive $10,000 and a crystal award for being selected. The Franklin County dairy farmers were revealed as the recipients during the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau’s virtual Annual Meeting.

Click here to read more about Slate Ridge Dairy Farm. Click here to view a video on the recipients. 

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Westmoreland Conservation District Recognizes Conservationists

Screenshot of “2020 Conservation Awards – Frye Farm” video.

The Westmoreland Conservation District (WCD) produced two videos to show their 2020 award recipients’ contributions.

They are:

  • The Ralph Frye family and their operation, Pleasant Lane Farms of Unity Township – 2020 Conservation Farmer of the Year. Click here to watch the video. 
  • The Municipality of Murrysville – 2020 J. Roy Houston Conservation Partner. Click here to watch the video. 

Traditionally, the district presented these awards and celebrated the winners at a reception at their headquarters. But this year, due to COVID-19 restrictions, WCD opted to present them in small, private ceremonies at each winner’s location in October. The videos allow everyone to celebrate the accomplishments of these outstanding conservationists.


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2021 Poster Contest is Open!

The 2021 Poster Contest theme is “Healthy Forests = Healthy Communities.” Conservation districts that wish to participate can collect nominations via email, judge them, and forward the winners in each grade category to PACD. PACD will then select the statewide winners to move on to the national contest.

PACD will accept photos of your county’s winners until June 30, 2021. Entries can be emailed to Click here for more information on the contest. 

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Congratulations to Somerset Conservation District and Len Lichvar

Photo of Len Lichvar from PA Environment Digest Blog.

From PA Environment Digest Blog, September 25, 2020

On September 25, the PA Association of Environmental Professionals recognized Len Lichvar, Manager of the Somerset Conservation District, with the Walter Lyon Award. The Walter Lyon Award honors an organization, project, or program that made a unique, creative, or significant contribution toward maintenance or restoration of Pennsylvania’s environmental quality or to the field of environmental management.

Somerset County Conservation District Manager Len Lichvar is deeply involved in conservation matters in his county, region, and statewide. Over the past 30 years, the Somerset Conservation District has planned and developed large scale projects to ensure that clean water is available for residents and visitors.

Click here to read the entire article.

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Perry County Conservation District Presents Rep. Keller with PACD Award

Photo provided by Perry County Conservation District.

Perry County Conservation District Manager Sally Tengeres recently presented Representative Mark Keller (PA 86th District) with the PACD Legislator Leadership Award in person. The award was announced at the PACD Executive Council Meeting in July.

Click here to read the press release.


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Conservationists Recognized for Making a Difference

(Clockwise): Rep. Keller, Sonia Wasco, Brooke Russick, and SCC.

Several conservationists were recognized during the PACD Executive Council meeting online on July 23, 2020.

“These individuals are shining stars among Pennsylvania’s 66 conservation districts. Today we recognize their efforts going above and beyond for clean water and healthy soil,” said Brenda Shambaugh, PACD Executive Director. “Congratulations to all these individuals and organizations on this recognition.”

The 2020 PACD honorees are as follows:

Legislator Leadership Award
Representative Mark Keller (PA 86th District)
The Perry County Conservation District nominated representative Mark Keller. He is currently in his eighth and last term representing the 86th Legislative District in Perry and Cumberland counties. He serves as chairman of the Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee.

President’s Award
Pennsylvania State Conservation Commission
The Pennsylvania State Conservation Commission (SCC) provides financial and other support for the Building for Tomorrow Leadership Development Program. Starting in 2018, the SCC provided funding to hire a full-time program coordinator. This position allows consistent and regular training for conservation district directors, associate directors, and staff.

Ann Rudd Saxman Conservation District Director Excellence Award
Sonia Wasco (Lancaster County)
Sonia Wasco has been connected to and supported the Lancaster County Conservation District (LCCD) for more than 40 years. Sonia is currently serving as a director on the LCCD board of directors for 12 years after serving as an Associate Director for ten years. She is also an active member of the PACD Executive Board, serving as treasurer. Sonia’s most unique and priceless volunteer work benefitting generations of students is her passion for serving as the co-director of the Lancaster County Youth Conservation School.

Conservation District Employee Excellence Award
Brooke Russick (Indiana County)
Brooke has worked for the Indiana County Conservation District for five years. She started as a watershed specialist, then moved to the Dirt, Gravel, and Low Volume Road Program specialist position. Through this position, Brooke built relationships with nearly every municipality in the county. These relationships allow the district to receive $1.5 million in requests for program funding each year. Brooke goes above and beyond to maintain the highest level of quality for the projects.

Conservation District Employee Service Recognition Program Awards

30 Years of Service
• Susan Gallagher, Chief Naturalist, Carbon County
• David Stoner, District Manager, Franklin County
• JoAnn McCready, District Manager, Lawrence County
• Patrick McKinney, Environmental Education Coordinator, Schuylkill County
•Keith Largent, E&S Technician, Somerset County
• Sylvia Thompson, Fiscal Coordinator/Bookkeeper II, Wayne County

35 Years of Service
• Donna Fisher, District Manager, Blair County
• Robert Sweitzer, District Manager (retired), Centre County
• Roger Spotts, Head Naturalist, Monroe County
• Mark Kimmel, District Manager, York County

Click here to read the entire press release. 

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Winners Announced in State Poster Contest on Pollinators

Grace Petrunak’s poster, submitted by Lehigh County Conservation District, won the 2-3 grade category in the statewide poster contest.

PACD is pleased to announce the winners of the 2020 “Where Would We BEE without Pollinators” statewide poster contest.

To promote the importance of pollinators, students from kindergarten through 12th grade entered posters conveying their thoughts and ideas through original artwork.

The winners and the county conservation districts that submitted the posters are:

Category: Kindergarten through First Grade

  • Payton Joy Duncan, Greene County Conservation District

Category: Second through Third Grades

  • Grace Petrunak, Lehigh County Conservation District

Category: Fourth through Sixth Grades

  • Andrew John Watts, Berks County Conservation District

Category: Seventh through Ninth Grades

  • Sarah Hartman, Carbon Conservation District

Category: Tenth through Twelfth Grades

  • Natalie Brown, Clinton County Conservation District

Each state-level winner will be submitted for judging in the upcoming national competition this winter. The National Association of Conservation Districts sponsors the national contest. Visit for more information.

Click here for the press release and here to view photos of the posters. 

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Poster Contest Offers Opportunity for At-Home Activity

While kids are home from school and parents are looking for activities, why not suggest the 2020 Poster Contest to your county residents via Facebook? The 2020 theme is, “Where would we BEE without Pollinators?”

Conservation districts that wish to participate can collect nominations via email, judge them, and forward the winners in each grade category to PACD. PACD will then select the statewide winners to move on to the national contest.

PACD will accept photos of your county’s winners until June 30, 2020. Entries can be emailed to Click here for more information on the contest. 

Thanks to Celina Seftas, manager at Huntingdon County Conservation District, for the idea to promote this to families at home!

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