Monday, January 24, 2022

PA Chapter Of Natural Resources Extension Professionals Names Ross Snook Of Montgomery County Natural Resources Education Champion

By Andy Yenta, Extension Renewable Natural Resources Educator

The PA Chapter of the Association of Natural Resources Extension Professionals has selected Ross Snook of Montgomery County as its Natural Resources Education Champion for 2021.

This award honors Pennsylvania residents who have demonstrated a dedicated history of support and enthusiasm for Natural Resources Extension Education at the county, regional, or statewide level in Pennsylvania.

Ross qualified for the award based on his long-standing support for environmental education projects in Montgomery County and his statewide work on stormwater management.  

His involvement with Penn State Extension’s Master Watershed Stewardship (MWS) and Tree Tender Programs were highlighted as examples of his local impact.  

Ross has a history of forging partnerships to advance his environmental projects. 

He has held numerous roles in Montgomery County local government and, according to MWS Coordinator Dawn Stelts, right after he became a MWS volunteer he made it clear that he valued the intersection of his MWS training with his participation on the New Hanover Township Environmental Advisory Board and as a Township Supervisor.

Ross is a leader on a multidisciplinary team that received a Penn State grant to help municipalities map and track their stormwater management basins.  

According to Ross, “A main goal of the project is showing Municipalities an easy way to inventory and assess their current stormwater infrastructure by making simple quantitative measurements and qualitative observations. Many of the local officials have minimal understanding of how stormwater flows through their communities but by completing this assessment, the Townships learn how their BMP's work over a period of time. 

“In doing this they become personally involved and see how rain impacts the places where they live and work. The more we can educate the residents and Officials, the better the chance is that we can really start to heal our stormwater infra-structures,” said Ross.

Ross expanded the reach of his stormwater basin mapping project beyond Montgomery County by presenting it at the Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors 2021 Fall Conference where it received many favorable comments. 

Ross says it was designed to be user friendly, “Any municipality can contribute data and use the site to visualize it online.  We are also in a discussion process with the Pennsylvania Department of Natural Resources, to possibly establish a coordinated effort or pathway, so that the MS4 data stormwater permitted communities collect can be added to the website for visual presentations.”

Ross’s education and work experience prepared him to be an environmental champion.  

He served in the Navy and earned a degree in earth science from Penn State University before going to work for an environmental company where he demonstrated a talent for securing and managing government contracts.  

Current PA-ANREP President and Penn State Extension Educator Andy Yencha said, “while Ross’s professional background prepared him well for understanding the intricacies of dealing with local public entities and officials on natural resource management issues, his natural enthusiasm and ability to find simple solutions to help manage complex challenges like municipal stormwater management, is what really stood out about his award application.” 

(Reprinted from the latest Penn State Extension Watershed Winds newsletterClick Here to sign  up for your own copy.)

Related Articles:

-- DCNR Good Natured Pennsylvanians: Ross Snook, New Hanover Twp. Environmental Advisory Board

-- Penn State Master Watershed Steward Program – A Look Back On 2021’s Accomplishments 

-- Master Watershed Steward Program Receives Healing The Planet Grant From The GIANT Company 

-- Penn State Extension: Spring Creek's Bleak Mid-Winter Blues In Dauphin County 

[Posted: January 24, 2022]  PA Environment Digest

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