Potter County Conservation District Celebrates 75th Anniversary!

Photo caption (L-R): Emily Shosh, Communications and Outreach Advisor, Glenn Dunn II, Resource Conservationist, Jared Dickerson, Watershed Specialist, and Andrew Mickey, DG/LVR Specialist. 

On November 28, 1945, the Potter County Conservation District became the first district established in Pennsylvania.

Our roots began in the farming community, with the primary goal of helping agriculture thrive while protecting natural resources. From the late 1930s until 1945, three influential local figures spearheaded the establishment of the District – Henry Staiger, an agriculture teacher and involved community member, and Ed Fisher and Roselle Lette, both progressive farmers.

The district’s initial goal was to prevent soil erosion for future farming and to conserve water quality. As Mr. Staiger explained to a then skeptical public, “would you allow a hole to remain in your pocket if you were only losing a dime at a time?” the example being that soil erosion, although often slow, is a steady loss with long term negative effects.

Click here to read the press release and view more photos. 

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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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Fluvial Geomorphology Training Wraps-Up

The Fluvial Geomorphology training was held as a webinar series. Photo taken by Amy Brown.

PACD held a Fluvial Geomorphology Training as a four-part webinar series concluding on November 13, 2020. Ninety-eight conservation district staff and partners attended the training.

Instructor David Williams from the International Erosion Control Association covered fluvial geomorphology and natural channel design indices, stream restoration/rehabilitation, and streambank protection.

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Bradford County Conservation District Leads Webinar with Stroud Water Research Center

Screenshot of the Better Gardens, Better Soil webinar.

On November 5, 2020, Kevin Brown, agricultural resource specialist at the Bradford County Conservation District, shared his experiences with no-till gardens for every size property.

Participants learned how you can spend less time weeding, have a productive garden, and improve water quality and soil health in your backyard!

Click here to view the Better Gardens, Better Soil webinar. 

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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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Native Plants and Pollinators Technical Training for Conservation Districts

The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service is offering free technical training to Pennsylvania’s conservation districts on native plants and pollinators. The webinar will take place Thursday, February 18, 2021, from 10:00 am to 11:30 am.

Training Description:

Proper plant selection is the first step to ensuring the success of ecological conservation and habitat development projects for native wildlife and pollinators. In this Pennsylvania-focused technical training, conservation district participants will learn about resources available from multiple agencies to help improve planning for native species plantings. Participants will receive an overview of Pennsylvania-specific climate adaptation resources that can be used to make an informed decision on plant selection. Participants will also gain an understanding of at-risk pollinator and wildlife species needs and user-friendly modeling that can be used to aid in proper planning and better communication with landowners.


Amy Brown, PACD Program Manager
Greg Czarnecki, PA DCNR Director of Applied Climate Science
Peter Hoagland, USDA NRCS State Forester
Kathy Patnode, USFWS Fish & Wildlife Biologist
John Taucher, PGC Private Lands Section Chief

Click here to register by February 16, 2021. 


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$384,329 Available for Multi-Functional Riparian Buffer Sub-grants

Reminder: PACD is accepting sub-grant applications to implement multi-functional riparian buffers. The implementation of these grants will help the commonwealth achieve its goal of planting 95,000 acres of riparian buffers by 2025.

To date, PACD has awarded $311,822 in sub-grants to 16 conservation districts covering 63.95 acres of multi-functional riparian buffers.

This grant is 100% paid. There is no match required.

The guidelines and applications for the statewide sub-grant program for conservation districts are available here. Direct questions to Amy Brown at abrown@pacd.org.

Financial and other support for this project is provided by the Pennsylvania Association of Conservation Districts, Inc. through a grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Bureau of Recreation and Conservation.

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Intro to Conservation Planning Held in Lebanon

Introductions kicked-off the course on November 4, 2020. Each student had their own table and chair spread out to social distance.

Twenty-nine students completed the Intro to Conservation Planning Course in Lebanon, PA, from November 4-6, 2020. The training was targeted to entry-level conservationists and included classroom and field experience. The students were introduced to the conservation planning process in Pennsylvania.

Participants attended the three-day training free of charge thanks to the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service and the State Conservation Commission’s generous sponsorship. PACD provided administrative support for the course.

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Save the Date for Your Spring PACD Region Meeting

Mark your calendar for your Spring 2021 PACD Region Meeting! All six meetings will take place virtually in March and April of 2021.

PACD South Central Region Video Conference
March 16, 2021 | 10:00 a.m. to Noon

PACD North Central Region Video Conference
March 18, 2021 | 10:00 a.m. to Noon

PACD South East Region Video Conference
March 25, 2021 | 10:00 a.m. to Noon

PACD South West Region Video Conference
March 30, 2021 | 10:00 a.m. to Noon

PACD North West Region Video Conference
April 8, 2021 | 10:00 a.m. to Noon

PACD North East Region Video Conference
April 16, 2021 | 10:00 a.m. to Noon

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