The Northeast Pennsylvania Environmental Partners last week honored the winners of its environmental awards at the 25th Annual Evening for Northeast Pennsylvania’s Environment on October 29 at the Woodlands Inn and Resort, Wilkes-Barre.
The winners were--
-- Bethlehem Authority & The Nature Conservancy, Carbon & Monroe Counties, for the Working Woodlands project, an innovative forest conservation program that brings the PA Chapter The Nature Conservancy’s land conservation and sustainable forest management experience together with emerging markets for sustainable wood products and “carbon credits.”
The Conservancy partnered with Blue Source, LLC, a firm that specializes in developing carbon offset projects, and the Bethlehem Authority, who was considering its options for maximizing the use and protection of its watershed lands. Bethlehem Authority and the Nature Conservancy’s Working Woodland project leverages land conservation at a large scale for minimal cost by taking advantage of opportunities in the carbon market.
The partners protected 22,000 acres of forested watershed land in Carbon and Monroe counties, making it the largest private conservation project in Pennsylvania history.
-- Angela M. Colarusso, Wyoming County: Ms. Colarusso, a wildlife rehabilitator in Pennsylvania, is the founder of the Second Chance Wildlife Center. She has dedicated much of her life to care for thousands of orphaned and injured wildlife.
For over 25 years, Ms. Colarusso has partnered with numerous organizations and agencies to educate both young and old on how to live with and provide healthy environments for our wildlife.
She spreads the message through educational classes, live animal demonstrations at local events, writing educational articles, and television appearances. Ms. Colarusso is truly an advocate and educator for our wildlife neighbors.
-- Friends of Starrucca Creek, Susquehanna County, for their efforts to clean up the trash and debris along Starrucca Creek. Led by Dana Rockwell, this group of family, friends, and numerous volunteers concentrated their initial efforts in and along the Starrucca Creek.
They have subsequently branched out to clean up along the D&H Trail, local roadsides, and the banks of the Susquehanna River. The group has partnered with PEC, Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful, and the Rail Trail Council of Northeast Pennsylvania to clean up the community.
To date, the group has removed and recycled 3,000 tires and two tons of scrap metal, and removed 18 tons of trash and debris from the environment.
-- Sue Nasrani, Luzerne County: Ms. Nasrani is the Chair Person for the Greater Hazleton Rails to Trails (GHRT) volunteer committee.
For 16 years, Ms. Nasrani has worked tirelessly to improve the GHRT. She has partnered with numerous organizations with the goal of improving the trail and making it an asset for the community and the surrounding region.
She has worked with the GHRT to obtain six miles of right of way for the trail, partnered with the North Branch Land Trust to conserve over 300 acres of land, and partnered with many others to install amenities for the trail including exercise stations, picnic facilities, and benches.
Under her leadership, the GHRT now has an Environmental Education Area and interpretive signs along the trail. She continues to lead the GHRT forward by being a leader and advocate for trail development.
-- Paupack Waves InvenTeam, Pike County, for a project that conceptualized and created a generator to harnesses the movement of a boat dock to produce electricity for a light on a dock at Lake Wallenpaupack.
The students noticed that the lake was very dark at night which created a safety and navigational issue on the lake. The students, with the guidance of their teacher, partnered with Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute and PPL mentors to refine and refocus their efforts to solve this problem through the use of clean renewable wave power.
The students were chosen to showcase their project at the Eurekafest at MIT and were also honored at the fifth annual White House Science Fair.
-- Corey Richmond, Sullivan County: Mr. Richmond is the Watershed Specialist at the Sullivan County Conservation District. During his tenure, he has partnered with numerous organizations to improve the watersheds within Sullivan County.
He has worked on countless stream restoration projects including stream stabilization, restoring riparian buffers, controlling invasive species, restoring fisheries, and monitoring water quality.
His educational outreach efforts have brought him in contact with local farmers, landowners, homeowners, and students regarding issues such as stormwater management, rain barrels, and stream monitoring.
Mr. Richmond has been instrumental in encouraging better management practices of our waterways and environment through educational outreach and on the ground actions and projects.
-- The Emerging Environmental Leader Award will be presented this year to David Madl III, Luzerne County, for demonstrating leadership, initiation, and dedication to protecting and promoting a healthy environment.
Mr. Madl’s interest in understanding and improving the environment led him to explore and participate in numerous opportunities that would allow him to make a positive impact on the environment.
Mr. Madl obtained the rank of Eagle Scout for a project that completed a trail renovation, rerouting, blazing, mapmaking, and signage at the YMCA Camp Kresge. His other accomplishments include his volunteer work with the Pennsylvania DCNR, obtaining his “Leave no Trace” certification, participating in the Crestwood Key Club, Fly Fishing Club, and Community Connections to our Watershed Forums.
Mr. Madl is currently an a.m.ERICORPS Volunteer in Service to America as a Summer Associate with the Greater Hazleton Area Civic Partnership. Among his duties there are assisting the Rails to Trails committee with improvements to the trail, grant writing, and working with the media.
Mr. Madl is currently a sophomore at Saint Francis University (PA) majoring in Environmental Engineering. Mr. Madl is a dedicated and accomplished young environmental leader.
-- The 21st annual Thomas P. Shelburne Environmental Leadership Award was presented this year to: Charles J. Charlesworth III of Lackawanna County.
Mr. Charlesworth is being honored for his dedication and commitment to improving the health and quality of the Lackawanna River and its watershed. Mr. Charlesworth has been a member of Trout Unlimited for over 25 years, most recently as the President of Lackawanna Valley Trout Unlimited, a chapter he was instrumental in forming.
Under Mr. Charlesworth’s tutelage, the Lackawanna chapter has received numerous awards and accolades and now has a nationally recognized program that engages our youth in watershed and environmental stewardship.
Mr. Charlesworth is a proven leader in the environmental arena who understands that without partners, none of this work would happen.
With this understanding, he established guidelines for creating and maintaining partnerships with like-minded organizations and has been asked to present these guidelines at several national T.U. meetings.
One example of his partnering efforts was the development of an outreach pilot program targeting youth, entitled T.U. Teens. Mr. Charlesworth partnered with the Lackawanna Heritage Valley Authority, Marywood University, Lackawanna County Conservation District, Fish and Boat Commission, Dunmore YMCA, and Lackawanna Parks and Recreation to provide financing, instructors, and training facility venues.
He then reached out to local scouting groups, churches, and the Hispanic Council of Lackawanna County to assist in recruiting students for the program. The program was such a success that it has become the accepted format for all other T.U. Teen clubs across the nation.
He has initiated several events centered on fly fishing that are designed to attract students and women to the sport. Under his guidance, the Lackawanna River’s Section 7 and 8 designation was adjusted to Class A Wild Trout Exceptional Value Water.
He has worked over the years to instill a sense of stewardship for the Lackawanna Watershed. His devotion to the river and its watershed has inspired and encouraged others to action in order to bring about positive change.
His legacy is one of leadership and partnership, encouraging others to do much more than one individual can ever hope to accomplish alone.
The Northeast Environmental Partners include Northeastern Pennsylvania Alliance, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Department of Environmental Protection, the Pennsylvania Environmental Council’s Northeast Office, PPL Corporation, Procter & Gamble Paper Products Company, and Wilkes UniversityFor more information on programs, initiatives and special events, visit the PA Environmental Council website. Click Here to sign up for monthly updates on PEC activities.