Northeast PA Environmental Partners Announce 2014 Award Winners
The Northeast Environmental Partners Thursday announced this year’s recipients of the 24th annual Environmental Partnership Awards and the winner of the 20th annual Thomas P. Shelburne Award.
Award recipients will be honored at a dinner on October 30 at the Woodlands Inn and Resort, Wilkes-Barre.
The Twentieth Annual Thomas P. Shelburne Environmental Leadership Award will be presented to Bernard J. McGurl of Lackawanna County. Mr. McGurl is being honored for his dedication and commitment to the improving the health and quality of the Lackawanna River and its 350 square mile watershed.
For over 25 years Mr. McGurl has partnered with a wide range of individuals, non-profit organizations, businesses, local municipalities and state and federal agencies to improve the water quality and aquatic diversity in the Lackawanna River, create a network of rail-trails along the river, reclaim acres of abandoned mine land and engage and educate the public about the river and its environs.
Mr. McGurl was a founding member of the Lackawanna River Corridor Association and has been its Executive Director since 1991. As Executive Director of LRCA Mr. McGurl immediately began to implement the goals laid out in the Lackawanna River Citizens Master Plan including cleaning up the river, developing a greenway and trail, protecting the watershed and open space lands, educating the community and forming partnerships.
Through his efforts and the partnerships formed the water quality of the river has improved, residents and visitors can walk and bike along 15 miles of river trail, critical open space has been protected, the community now recognizes the river as a natural resource to be protected and enjoyed and lasting partnerships have been formed that continue to work to improve the Lackawanna River and it tributaries.
Mr. McGurl is a proven leader in the environmental arena who understands that without partners none of this work would happen. Mr. McGurl’s devotion to the Lackawanna River 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.
Environmental Partnership Awards
The recipients of the Environmental Partnership Awards for 2014 are:
-- Every Drop Counts ~ Use a Rain Barrel Project, Wayne & Pike Counties, for the Pike/Wayne Conservation Partnership’s implementation of the Every Drop Counts project.
Starting out as a simple partnership effort, Every Drop Counts! Use a Rain Barrel Project blossomed into a tremendous educational outreach opportunity expanding to include the entire community.
Every Drop Counts! Use a Rain Barrel Project brought together over twenty partners involved in the Pike/Wayne Conservation Partnership, four local School Districts including teachers, students and administration, the Downtown Hawley Partnership, and a large number of local businesses to draw attention to the importance of water conservation and stormwater management.
-- Lackawanna Valley Trout Unlimited, Lackawanna County, for their numerous conservation efforts over the years to restore and protect the Lackawanna River and its tributaries.
Lackawanna Valley Trout Unlimited has partnered with various organizations to conduct semi-annual River Clean-ups, install benches and habitat and restoration projects, pilot a Trout Unlimited Teens program in Lackawanna County, and conduct an all Women’s Fly Fishing class.
Lackawanna Valley Trout Unlimited’s most high profile accomplishment was to successfully get the Lackawanna Rivers Section 7 and 8 designations adjusted to Class A Wild Trout Exceptional Value Waters and now 21 miles of the river have special protection status and special designation.
-- Newport Township Community Organization, Luzerne County, for their Environmental Recycling Program. Over the past ten years the Newport Township Community Organization has taken the path of leadership in their community by establishing the Environmental Recycling program which not only improves but positively sustains the environment.
This program has become the financial backbone and leading fundraiser for the organization allowing them to continue this and many other projects throughout the community. NTCO has developed and maintained partnerships with local residents, businesses, volunteer organizations and public service entities in order to successfully conduct this program year after year.
-- Pocono Avian Research Center, Monroe County, for increasing awareness of our natural resources, especially the native birds and habitats of the Poconos through research, education and community involvement.
Pocono Avian Research Center formed partnerships with local civic associations, other non-profits, educational organizations, students and volunteers to conduct research studies, service learning projects and community education workshops. PARC believes that the most effective way for any organization to find solutions for complex environmental questions is through partnerships.
-- Women & Their Woods ~ Delaware Highlands Conservancy, Wayne County, for the Women and their Woods program which is designed specifically for the needs of a growing number of women forest landowners.
Women and their Woods is a network of forest landowners and professionals who work together in order to cultivate women’s connections to and care of healthy forests. Through quarterly newsletters, meetings and workshops forest landowners learn about forest management topics such as forest ecology, tree identification, forest hydrology, wildlife habitat, silvicultural as well as network and learn from professionals and forest landowner mentors.
-- The Emerging Environmental Leader Award will be presented this year to Emily Rinaldi, Lackawanna County, for demonstrating leadership, initiative and dedication to protecting and promoting a healthy environment.
Emily’s interest in understanding and improving the environment lead her to explore and participate in numerous opportunities that would allow her to make a positive impact on the environment.
Emily participated in DCNR’s Community Connections to Our Watershed Program where her passion for the environment was ignited. Emily has volunteered at the Lackawanna Riverfest, the Lackawanna/Wyoming County Envirothon and the Bluebird Monitoring Program at the Lackawanna State Park along with countless other environmental events and activities both in and out of the region.
Emily has three jobs all related to the environment. As a Keystone College intern Emily works on various environmental projects. She also works for Endless Mountain Outfitters helping to guide river kayaking excursions and assisting customers who are following their passion for the outdoors. She is also working at Second Chance Wildlife Center located in Tunkhannock, PA.
Emily has already completed five years of research in two foreign countries and the U.S. She has worked tirelessly whenever called upon to help, with enthusiasm and dedication. She is an exemplary role-model for both those that will enter the environmental field as well as, those following other paths.
Emily is currently a senior at Keystone College majoring in Environmental Science and hopes to stay in Northeastern Pennsylvania and work as an educator in the environmental field. Emily is a dedicated and accomplished young environmental leader.
Shannon Reiter is President of Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful. Prior to this role, she was President of PA CleanWays where she began in 2004. In 2010, Shannon led the merger of the two organizations.
Reiter has more than 15 years’ experience in facilitating partnerships across the public, private, and nonprofit sectors. Shannon currently serves on the Westmoreland County Community Foundation Grants Committee and the Executive Committee for the State Leaders Council of Keep America Beautiful. Reiter obtained her Masters of Public Administration in Public/Nonprofit Management (2003) from the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, University of Pittsburgh.
Dr. David Coppola, became the tenth president for Keystone College on June 1, 2013. He came to Keystone with more than 25 years of experience at the secondary and postsecondary levels. Dr. Coppola obtained a Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education from Seton Hall University, with a concentration and teaching certification in English and Music. He also earned a Bachelor’s and Master’s of Sacred Theology from St. Mary’s Seminary and University, Baltimore, and a Doctorate of Philosophy in Educational Administration from Fordham University.
NE Environmental Partners
The Northeast Environmental Partners include: Northeastern Pennsylvania Alliance, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Department of Environmental Protection, Pennsylvania Environmental Council’s Northeast Office, PPL Corporation, Procter & Gamble Paper Products Company, and Wilkes University.
For tickets or more information, download the dinner brochure, or call PEC at 570-718-6507.
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