Pennsylvania Association of Conservation Districts

We support Pennsylvania’s Conservation Districts who work for clean water and healthy soil every day.

Butler County Conservation District Hosts CREP/BMP Field Day

Photo submitted by Butler County Conservation District.

Submitted by Butler County Conservation District

The Butler County Conservation District hosted a Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program/Best Management Practices (CREP/BMP) Field Day on July 28, 2023, at the BGN Farm owned by Jeff Grazier. Farmers interested in participating in CREP registered with the USDA Farm Service Agency for the event. This was an opportunity to learn about Jeff’s operation and the different programs and funding sources available to assist farms in Butler County. The field day was funded through the CREP Mini-grant Program for Conservation Districts. Click here for more information and to apply. 

Click here to read more. 

Financial and other support for the CREP Outreach Program Office Mini-grant Program is provided by the Pennsylvania Association of Conservation Districts, Inc. through a Growing Greener Watershed Protection grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and with additional support from USDA-NRCS.

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Berks County Conservation District Holds Annual Celebration

Senator Judy Schwank speaks during the July 31, 2023 event.

On July 31, 2023, Berks County Conservation District held its Annual Scholarship and Awards Dinner. The event was held at the Oley Fairgrounds in Oley, PA. During the celebration, the district awarded $24,000 in scholarships and recognized several businesses and individuals.

Award Winners:

  • Chair’s Award – John Ravert
  • Contractor of the Year – H&K Group
  • Plan Preparer of the Year – LTL Consultants
  • Conservation Organization of the Year – Blue Marsh, US Army Corps of Engineers, Philadelphia Division
  • Conservation Individuals of the Year – Tami Hildebrand and Joseph Boyle, Mt. Penn Water Authority
  • Farm of the Year – Vista Grande Farms, LLC, the Bitler Family



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Save the Date for Fall Verbal Judo Training

Presenter Michael Freeman is a certified Verbal Judo instructor and holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology.

Mark your calendars for Verbal Judo training October 12-13, 2023, in State College, PA. The spring Verbal Judo series met with such overwhelmingly positive response that PACD and DEP are coordinating another, centrally located, session for conservation district and DEP staff. This course is specifically designed to for those involved with regulatory inspections and enforcement, but is useful for anyone who deals with the public. Registration will be free and required. Stay tuned for more details.


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Beri Presents at Illinois Convention

Photo provided by Association of Illinois Soil and Water Conservation Districts.

Indiana County Conservation District Manager Doug Beri presented at the Association of Illinois Soil and Water Conservation Districts’ 75th Annual Meeting. Doug’s topic was, “Maximizing Total Compensation to Retain and Motivate Talented Employees.” The meeting was held in Springfield, Illinois from July 16 to July 18, 2023.

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Register Now for the 2023 Management Summit & Pre-Con

Registration is open for the 2023 Management Summit and Pre-Con, September 12-14 at the Wyndham Conference Center State College.  For the third year in a row, the conference features a Tuesday Pre-Con meeting dedicated to new and first-time managers, assistant managers, team leaders and other management-aspiring district staff.  This year’s Pre-Con program for emerging leaders features a morning workshop focusing on executive & supervisory skills and an afternoon workshop focusing on emotional intelligence.  

Wednesday’s Summit keynote, presented by Sarah Colantonio of Lancaster-based Work Wisdom LLC will examine the connections between stress, burnout, and emotional intelligence and their effects on organizational culture and leadership.  The Summit program also features breakouts on financial topics and strengths-based performance reviews, a workshop session on Change Management & Maximizing Total Compensation, partner presentations, and an opportunity to meet the new district management staff and new CDFRs.

Visit Building for Tomorrow for more information and to register.   Please note that the deadline for making a reservation from the Summit room block is August 11 – attendees should contact the Wyndham Garden State College directly at 814-466-2255 and provide Summit group code: 091123MAN

Financial and other support for the Building for Tomorrow Leadership Development Program is provided through a grant from the Pennsylvania State Conservation Commission. Guidance for the Program is provided through the Pennsylvania Conservation Partnership’s Leadership Development Committee.


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Beck Elected PACD President

The PACD Executive Board posed for a photo after the meeting on July 20 in Grantville. They are (left to right) Chuck Duritsa, Emil Bove, Kelly Stagen, Dennis Beck, Piper Sherburne, Dr. Rob Shannon, Sonia Wasco, and Tom Herbert.

At the annual meeting of the Pennsylvania Association of Conservation Districts (PACD) on July 20, 2023, the Association elected a new slate of officers. Among them was Cambria County Conservation District Chairman Dennis Beck, who was elected President.

Previously, Beck served as the Association’s First Vice President and Second Vice President.

The 2023 PACD officers elected are as follows:

  • President: Dennis Beck, Cambria County Conservation District
  • 1st Vice President: Emil Bove, Westmoreland Conservation District
  • 2nd Vice President: Kelly Stagen, Pike County Conservation District
  • NACD Director: Ron Rohall, Westmoreland Conservation District

Executive Board Members not up for election and continuing to serve their terms:

  • Secretary: Charles Duritsa, Westmoreland Conservation District
  • Treasurer & Interim South Central Region Director: Sonia Wasco, Lancaster County Conservation District
  • North Central Region Director: Dr. Robert Shannon, Centre County Conservation District
  • North West Region Director & NACD North East Region Representative: Cliff Lane, McKean County Conservation District
  • North East Region Director: Thomas Herbert, Luzerne Conservation District
  • South East Region Director: Piper Sherburne, Berks County Conservation District
  • South West Region Director: Vacant


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PACD Honors Award Recipients during Annual Meeting

(Left to right): Pictured are PACD North Central Region Director Dr. Robert Shannon, PA Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Richard Negrin, Senator Scott Martin, PA Department of Agriculture Deputy Secretary Greg Hostetter, and PACD President Kelly Stagen.

Conservation district staff and partners attended the PACD/SCC Award Luncheon on July 19, 2023.

The following honorees were recognized: 

Legislator Leadership Award

  • Senator Scott Martin (Senate District 13 – Berks and Lancaster Counties)

President’s Award

  • Tamara Peffer (PA Department of Education)
  • Piper Sherburne (Berks County)

Ann Rudd Saxman Conservation District Director Excellence Award

  • Thomas Boldin (Centre County)

Conservation District Employee Excellence Award

  • Michele Long (Pike County)

Conservation District Trash Champion

  • Washington County Conservation District

Conservation District Employee Service Recognition Awards

30 Years of Service

  • Russell Ryan, Resource Conservation Supervisor, Adams
  • Bill Zavislak, Chesapeake Bay Engineering Assistant, Lackawanna

35 Years of Service

  • Tim Matechak, Erosion and Sedimentation Technician (Retired), Lackawanna
  • James Pillsbury, Hydraulic Engineer, Westmoreland

45 Years of Service

  • Barry Travelpiece, Engineer (Retired), Columbia

Click here to read the entire press release. 

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Winners Announced in State Poster Contest on Watersheds

PACD announced the winners of the 2023 “One Water” statewide poster contest.

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

Category: Kindergarten through First Grade

  • Aiden German, Columbia County Conservation District

Category: Second through Third Grades

  • Cora Petrunak, Lehigh County Conservation District

Category: Fourth through Sixth Grades

  • Alekhya Doddapaneni, Allegheny County Conservation District

Category: Seventh through Ninth Grades

  • Olivia Greene, Columbia County Conservation District

Category: Tenth through Twelfth Grades

  • Evelyn Warner, Cambria County Conservation District

In the digital poster contest, Quinn Brown, Delaware County Conservation District, won in the Seventh through Ninth Grade category.

Each state-level winner will receive $50 and 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.

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Berks County Conservation District’s Urban Agriculture Initiative Addresses “One Nook at a Time”

Reprinted with permission from the Berks County Conservation District News, Events and Updates on July 13, 2023.

In October of 2022, the Berks County Conservation District, in partnership with the Salvation Army of Reading, began transforming the Tyson Schoener Elementary School courtyard into a garden space where children would learn to grow food.

This project is part of a larger Urban Agriculture Initiative growing within the City of Reading, connecting residents with locally grown food by teaching them how to grow fresh produce and spreading their knowledge within their communities.

Click here to read the entire article. 


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Sub-grants Now Available for Lawn Conversion

PACD was awarded a $100,000 Community Conservation Partnerships Program Grant from the PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) to offer Lawn Conversion training and mini-grants to Pennsylvania’s conservation districts. The lawn conversion program will help the Commonwealth achieve a goal of planting 5,000 acres of upland forest and 5,000 acres of meadow by 2025.

The Lawn Conversion for Conservation Districts training recording and a copy of Ryan Davis’s presentation are available on the PA Clean Water Academy. Click here to access the course page. (You will need to be logged in.)

The application and other lawn conversion sub-grant program materials are available here

It is recommended that you complete the training before applying for the sub-grant.

Questions may be directed to Holly Miller, PACD Program Manager, at or (717) 794-6105.

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