Tuesday, March 28, 2017

DCNR Names The Watershed Farm, Westmoreland County, Green Park Award Winner

Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn Tuesday announced The Watershed Farm in Westmoreland County is the recipient of the 2017 Green Park Award for its demonstrated commitment to water resource protection, habitat creation and connecting people to nature.
“Whether it is education or preservation, plantings or parking, this 123-acre Westmoreland County farm emerges as a pure, shining gem,” said Dunn. “For its demonstrated green and sustainable practices, The Watershed Farm is most deserving of the third annual Green Park Award.”
The secretary joined other state and local parks and recreation officials in presenting the award to the Loyalhanna Watershed Association at a luncheon hosted by the PA Recreation and Parks Society at the Hershey Lodge and Convention Center, Hershey.
“It’s exciting to see that this year’s Green Park Award winner has made a commitment to sustainability by incorporating green and sustainable practices in all of the Green Park Award criteria areas,” Dunn said. “Much like DCNR, The Watershed Farm is home to facilities that employ the ideals of the LEED rating system, and it is a showcase property for practices in environmental stewardship, water conservation and natural Landscaping, including 150-foot riparian forest buffers around the farm’s streams and wetlands.”
Co-sponsored by DCNR and the PRPS, the award recognizes statewide excellence in a public park community that demonstrates green and sustainable practices. Judges include DCNR staff from the department’s bureaus of Recreation and Conservation and State Parks, the secretary’s office, and PRPS.
The award was accepted at the luncheon by Susan L. Huba, executive director of the Loyalhanna Watershed Association, and Linda LaRue and Corliss Aukerman, association volunteers.  The Loyalhanna Watershed Association owns and operates the property.
“The Loyalhanna Watershed Association was excited to complete The Watershed Farm Project as a conservation asset for our community thanks to many friends and partnering organizations, without whom the project would not have been possible,” said Huba. “To be recognized by the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources with this award is truly an honor, as it exemplifies all The Watershed Farm represents through adaptive reuse, green practices and environmental stewardship.”
Restored as a family farm landscape, The Watershed Farm is a 123-acre property that is home to a refurbished bank barn, the original brick farmhouse and a 4-acre wetland.
The bank barn now serves as the Nimick Family Education Center, allowing staff to provide environmental programming to nearly 1,000 students and community groups each year.
Over 1,700 native trees and shrubs were planted to create 150-foot riparian forest buffers around the waterways and wetland.  Gardens on the farm host numerous pollinator-friendly plants, bee boxes and bat boxes. A permeable parking area, two rain gardens and natural swales promote infiltration and reduce erosion from storm water.
The Watershed Farm is also host to the popular Ligonier Country Market every Saturday from May to October.
For more information, visit DCNR’s Green and Sustainable Park Initiative webpage.

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