PA Envirothon Team Takes 3rd Place in International Competition

3rd place photo (l to r) – Megan Patton (coach), Ryan Swartz, Joey Kurincak, Christina Adams, Stephen Zacoi, Jacob Hair, and Kevin Willis (coach). Photo provided by PA Envirothon.

On August 2, Pennsylvania’s Envirothon team from Carmichaels Area High School in Greene County took third place out of 53 teams from the United States, Canada and China competing in the 2019 NCF Envirothon at North Carolina State University!

Congratulations to team members Jacob Hair, Ryan Swartz, Christina Adams, Stephen Zacoi, Joey Kurincak and coach Kevin Willis!

This is the second year in a row a team from Carmichaels Area High School won the Pennsylvania Envirothon and then went on to the international competition.

The team was awarded a scholarship of $5,000 ($1,000 each) for this third place finish out of 53 teams. The team had the second highest Forestry score with 87 out of 100 points (high score was an 88), the second highest Soils score with 64.5 (high 69), the fourth highest Wildlife score with an 88 (high, 93.5), and the fifth highest Aquatics score with a 91.5 (high 96.5). Their final presentation score was 547.9 (high, 570.3).

Click here to read more.

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Blair County Conservation District Featured on Local News

Blair County Conservation District’s rain barrel workshops were featured on a local news channel. Watershed Specialist Diane Thomas and Stormwater Coordinator Chelsea Ergler of the Blair Conservation District explained how rain barrels work and promoted upcoming workshops. Click here to watch the video.

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Secretary McDonnell Visits Franklin County Project

Franklin County Commissioner Robert Thomas (left) and PA Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Patrick McDonnell listen to Larry Brannaka (right), hydrologist with the PA field office of the US Fish and Wildlife Service. Photo courtesy of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. 

PA Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Patrick McDonnell visited community leaders at Lurgan Lions Club Park in Roxbury (Franklin County) to discuss how Restore Pennsylvania could support stream restoration projects to prevent erosion and protect communities across the commonwealth.

Staff from the Franklin County Conservation District and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service outlined their planned project to put in place in-stream stabilization structures and native vegetation to end the erosion. The project would also contribute to Franklin County’s Clean Water Action Plan to help Pennsylvania reduce sediment and nutrients in its part of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.

Click here to read the entire press release.

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South Central Region Managers Meet

Front row: PACD Executive Director Brenda Shambaugh and Larry Martick (retired manager). Middle row: Fulton County Conservation District Manager Seleen Shives, Schuylkill Conservation District Manager Jenna St. Clair, Northumberland County Conservation District Manager Judy Becker, Perry County Conservation District Manager Sally Tengeres, Mike Hubler (retired manager), Don McNutt (retired manager). Back row: Lancaster County Conservation District Manager Chris Thompson, Adams County Conservation District Manager Adam McClain, Chester County Conservation District Manager Chris Strohmaier, Cumberland County Conservation District Manager Carl Goshorn, Ernie Tarner (retired manager), Franklin County Conservation District Manager Dave Stoner, and Berks County Conservation District Manager Dean Druckenmiller.

Managers from the PACD South Central Region met at Shady Maple in East Earl, PA, for a breakfast meeting on July 25, 2019. PACD Executive Director Brenda Shambaugh and several retired conservation district managers joined them.

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Reminder: Register for CPESC Training by August 22

The deadline for the Certified Professional in Erosion and Sediment Control (CPESC) training and test being held September 3 and 4, 2019, is August 22, 2019. Both the review course and exam will take place at the Lebanon County Conservation District Office, 2120 Cornwall Rd., Lebanon, PA. If you have not yet started the CPESC certification process, we recommend you go to the Envirocert International, Inc. website (https://envirocertintl.org) and review the requirements and process now. There are a limited number of seats available.

The review course is designed to ensure CPESC applicants understand what concepts will be covered by the exam, and acts as a review for most of those concepts. Note that there is special pricing for PA conservation district staff for the review course. The cost is $175 for conservation district employees and $365 for everyone else. The exam fee is $150. Before registering, contact Amy Brown at abrown@pacd.org or 717-238-7223 x104 for a district staff discount code or with any questions.

Click here for the registration link.

Click here for instruction on how to register.

The review course is open to anyone actively pursuing a CPESC certification through EnviroCert International, Inc., including conservation districts, agency staff, and private companies. Please pass this information along to anyone who may be interested.

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New Slate of Officers Elected at PACD Executive Council Meeting

(Left to right): The new PACD officers include Sonia Wasco, Charles Duritsa, Mike Price, Kelly Stagen, and Dennis Beck.

These individuals will serve on the PACD Executive Board in the following positions:

President: Mike Price, Beaver County

1st Vice President: Kelly Stagen, Pike County

2nd Vice President: Dennis Beck, Cambria County

Secretary: Charles Duritsa, Westmoreland County

Treasurer: Sonia Wasco, Lancaster County

Congratulations to the officers and thank you for volunteering your time in these leadership positions!

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Conservationists Recognized in Williamsport

Representative Donna Oberlander receives the 2019 Legislator Leadership Award. Left to right are: Dr. Robert Shannon, PACD North Central Region Director; Greg Hostetter, Deputy Secretary of the PA Department of Agriculture; Charles Duritsa, PACD President; Representative Donna Oberlander; Aneca Atkinson, Deputy Secretary of the PA Department of Environmental Protection, and Brenda Shambaugh, PACD Executive Director.

Representatives from across the Commonwealth traveled to the Genetti Hotel in Williamsport for the PACD/State Conservation Commission’s 72nd Joint Annual Conference. Several conservationists were recognized at an awards luncheon on July 17, 2019.

The 2019 PACD honorees are as follows: 

  • Legislator Leadership Award: Representative Donna Oberlander (PA 63rd District)
  • President’s Award: Denise Coleman, State Conservationist, Pennsylvania USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)
  • Ann Rudd Saxman Conservation District Director Excellence Award: Pownall Jones (Chester County)
  • Conservation District Employee Excellence Award: Carl Goshorn (Cumberland County)
  • Conservation District Employee Service Recognition Program Awards
    30 Years of Service
  • Martie Hetherington, Chesapeake Bay Program Coordinator, Schuylkill County
  • Rob Fetter, Resource Conservationist/Network Administrator, York County

 Click here to read the entire press release.

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Five Pennsylvania Farms Receive Clean Water Farm Award

The Martin Family receives the Pennsylvania Clean Water Farm Award on July 17 at the PACD/SCC Joint Annual Conference in Williamsport. Left to right are: Dr. Robert Shannon, PACD North Central Region Director; Greg Hostetter, Deputy Secretary of the PA Department of Agriculture; Josh and Brandi Martin, award recipients; Charles Duritsa, PACD President; Aneca Atkinson, Deputy Secretary of the PA Department of Environmental Protection, and Brenda Shambaugh, PACD Executive Director.

The Pennsylvania Association of Conservation Districts, Inc. (PACD) in conjunction with the award sponsor, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), presented the operators of five farms with the Clean Water Farm Award during its annual conference on July 17, 2019 in Williamsport, PA. The honor is awarded annually to farmers who manage their daily farm operations in an environmentally conscious manner that helps to protect Pennsylvania’s water quality.

DEP has sponsored this award for the past thirty-three years. Recipients receive a certificate signed by the DEP Secretary and a large Clean Water Farm Award sign to erect on their property.

This year’s award recipients are:

  • Snider Homestead Farm (Bedford County)
  • Hard Earned Acres, Bob and Barb Keefer (Cumberland County)
  • Martin Farms, Josh & Brandi Martin and Robert & Patsy Martin (Franklin County)
  • Iams Farm (Washington County)
  • Belview Valley Farms LLC, Eric Gemmill (York County)

Financial support for this award is provided by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection through the Chesapeake Bay Regulatory and Accountability Program and the Pennsylvania Chesapeake Bay Education Office (administered by the Pennsylvania Association of Conservation Districts, Inc.).

Click here for the entire press release.

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Registration Opens for Chapter 102 Fall Regional Sessions

PACD is partnering with the PA Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to facilitate Chapter 102 Fall Regional Sessions. These free sessions are for conservation district and DEP staff.

Click here for directions on how to register for these sessions.

Due to limited space, please limit registrations to 3-4 staff per office.

Northwest Chapter 102 Fall Regional Session
October 1, 2019 (deadline to register is September 20)
DEP Northwest Regional Office, Meadville, PA

Southwest Chapter 102 Fall Regional Session
October 2, 2019 (deadline to register is September 20)
Westmoreland Conservation District, Greensburg, PA

Northcentral Chapter 102 Fall Regional Session
October 15, 2019 (deadline to register is October 4)
DEP Northcentral Regional Office, Williamsport, PA

Northeast Chapter 102 Fall Regional Session
October 22, 2019 (deadline to register is October 11)
Back Mountain Regional Emergency Services, Dallas, PA

Southeast Chapter 102 Fall Regional Session
October 29, 2019 (deadline to register is October 18)
DEP Southeast Regional Office, Norristown, PA

Southcentral Chapter 102 Fall Regional Session
October 31, 2019 (deadline to register is October 21)
Dauphin County Agriculture and Natural Resources Center, Dauphin, PA

For questions related to the Clean Water Academy, contact Jay Braund at jbraund@pa.gov.

Contact Shannon Wehinger swehinger@pacd.org with questions about the fall sessions.

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Columbia Holds No Mow Workshop

Workshop attendees received a No Mow Zone sign for their property. Photo provided by Columbia County Conservation District.

In June, Columbia County Conservation District held a workshop for local landowners. The workshop encouraged attendees to establish more vegetation on their properties. A second “Establishing a No Mow Zone on Your Property” workshop will be held this week. Participants will learn about the benefits of reduced mowing and the use of cover crops to prevent floods, create wildlife habitat, and promote clean water for their communities.

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 Environmental Protection under Section 319 of the Clean Water Act, administered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

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