PennFuture To Honor 8 Winners Of Central PA Women In Conservation Awards April 25

On April 25 PennFuture will honor the 8 winners of the Women in Conservation Awards at a special celebration at the susquehanna Club in New Cumberland, Cumberland County from 5:30 to 8:00 p.m.

“The Women in Conservation Awards are presented each year by PennFuture to  individuals who are champion advocates in their areas of conservation.  Recipients are selected by PennFuture from nominations submitted by the community. This year we are recognizing eight central Pennsylvania women,” said Travis DiNicola, director of development at PennFuture, a statewide conservation nonprofit organization. “We encourage friends, families and supporters of conservation to join us in applauding these accomplished awardees at the Women in Conservation Awards celebration.”

The six categories of the 2019 Women in Conservation Awards are lifetime achievement; environmental education; environment arts; environmental media, marketing and communications; Susquehanna River watershed; and renewable energy and climate.

The 8 winners are--

-- Woman Of Lifetime Achievement In Conservation: Kelly Gutshall: Kelly Gutshall became the president of LandStudies in 1998. Concurrently serving as the firm’s head landscape architect, she has led a science-based approach to planning and design and has helped implement the concept of “economic ecology” to assist communities in maximizing economic and environmental returns on investment.

In her career, which has spanned more than 35 years, Gutshall has changed the perception of landscape architecture from aesthetic to environmentally functional. She advises community leaders, architects, engineers, nonprofits and land developers to follow the Green Master Plan, which is a holistic planning approach LandStudies uses to balance the needs of clients with a full array of interrelated environmental policy opportunities and green initiatives.

During her decorated career, Gutshall has been recognized repeatedly for her contributions.

In 2015, she was named a Watershed Champion by the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, a group where she now serves on the board of directors, as well as received the Exceptional Leadership Award by the Pennsylvania Landscape & Nursery Association.

She accepted the Central Penn Business Journal 2016 Women of Influence Award. In 2018, she was honored by her alma mater, Penn State College of Arts and Architecture, with the Alumni Award for Landscape Architecture. Her achievements are not limited to conservation. Gutshall has been deaf since age 35 and serves as a mentor with the National Bionic Ear Association.

Gutshall co-founded LandStudies, Inc. with her husband in 1989. She is a registered landscape architect in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware and New York.

In addition to her duties at LandStudies, she has volunteered her time to several organizations, including: Lancaster County Conservancy, Penn State Ag Council, Pennsylvania Riparian Buffer Advisory Committee, Chesapeake Conservation Landscape Council, Warwick Township Planning Commission, and U.S. Green Building Council. Gutshall is a resident of Lancaster, PA.

-- Woman Of Lifetime Achievement in Conservation - Dr. Margaret Brittingham: Margaret Brittingham was hired by Penn State in 1988 and has been a mentor to countless students over the years, many of whom have gone on to be accomplished professionals in their areas of conservation.

She advises and guides graduate research students primarily in the areas of avian ecology, human impacts on bird populations and the effects of shale gas development on forest birds. Her students’ research addresses relevant wildlife conservation concerns and is always available to the public.

Brittingham teaches ornithology and her areas of academic interest are related to avian ecology. Most recently, she has been studying the effects of oil and gas development on forest habitat and birds; the avian response to Pennsylvania’s Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program; and habitat quality of Pennsylvania’s forest songbirds.

This research is done with the help of her students, and the data collected is used to develop conservation techniques and guidelines for Pennsylvania bird populations.

Originally from Tennessee, Brittingham completed her doctoral studies at the University of Wisconsin before her appointment to Penn State. She is an accomplished researcher and author, and has numerous publications in the fields of avian ecology, ornithology and wildlife habitat management. She is a resident of State College, Pennsylvania.

-- Woman Of Environmental Education - Lauren Ferreri: Lauren Ferreri became the manager of the Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area in 2016. Her responsibilities include overseeing the Middle Creek visitor’s center and museum, managing controlled waterfowl hunts and collecting biological data from the area.

One such collection of data includes tracking the annual migration of snow geese and waterfowl found in Middle Creek. The 6,254-acre Wildlife Management Area is located in Lancaster and Lebanon counties.

After her appointment, Ferreri focused on enhancing the educational experience provided to tourists and visitors of Middle Creek. She increased the informational value of hiking trails by designing trail signs that give information about the wildlife living in the area and the habitats they need to thrive.

Because of her efforts, visitors now have the opportunity to access information digitally and through the airwaves. She oversaw the installation of a camera to livestream the snow goose and swan migration, and she created radio-accessed audio files to accompany wildlife driving tours.

Originally from Mohrsville, PA, Ferreri now lives in Newmanstown in Lebanon County. Prior to her appointment, she worked for the Game Commission as a bio-aide in deer research and trapping, and then as a biologist in the north central region of the state. She is a graduate of Delaware Valley College.

-- Woman of Environmental Education - Lydia Martin: Lydia Martin was appointed director of education at Lancaster County Conservancy in 2015. She manages the Susquehanna Riverlands Research & Education Center at Climbers Run Nature Preserve in Pequea Township, Lancaster County.

Her educational initiatives—which inform children and adults about the benefits of preserving natural landscapes—support learning opportunities with students and include recreation, observation and free play.

Martin is an advocate for sustainable landscape design practices and environmental training that promote community growth.

Aligning with her career conservation efforts, Martin also contributes to several organizations through volunteer work.

As a certified Pennsylvania Master Naturalist, she co-coordinates the bi-annual Pennsylvania Master Naturalist partnership program. Additionally, she participates in both the Pennsylvania Trails Advisory and Rail Trail Advisory Committees, where she assists with trail needs, maintenance and volunteer coordination.

Martin maintains an ongoing professional presence in the community by helping others utilize and preserve natural landscapes. She provides environmental consulting design and review for individuals, churches, and townships, and works with non-profit organizations to raise funds for environmental and youth initiatives.

Martin resides in Conestoga in Lancaster County. She has been working for Lancaster County Conservancy since 2012. Before that, she worked as a field coordinator for Manheim Township Parks and Recreation and as landscape design consultant. She attended Millersville University of Pennsylvania.

-- Woman Of Environmental Arts - Stacy Levy: Stacy Levy’s nationally-recognized artwork showcases the ways natural forces interact with human-made environments and urban ecosystems.

As an artist, she is interested in watersheds, tides, growth and erosion. She uses her projects to communicate environmental issues, primarily water-related, to the public. Her creations often merge science and art, and in the past, she has collaborated with scientists, fluid dynamic engineers and geologists to create public installations that highlight the relationship between nature and the structures humans create.

In 2018, Levy debuted companion projects “Tide Field” and “River Rooms” to help Philadelphia residents observe and better understand the tides of the Schuylkill River. “Tide Field” uses brightly colored buoys to visualize tidal height, while “River Rooms” is a series of boat-shaped platforms from which observers can view the buoys and changes in water level.

Not only does Levy garner attention with her art, but her constructions present creative solutions for environmental challenges.

Her most recent work for the Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education was the innovative outdoor exhibit “Rain Yard,” which manages rain water off the Visitor Center’s roof.  In 2018, the Center presented her with the Henry Meigs Environmental Leadership Award. You can see more of her work online.

Levy resides in Spring Mills in Centre County, and has been a practicing environmental artist since 1991. In 2017, she served on the panel for “Eco Science and Eco Art: Interdisciplinary collaboration between ecosystem science and art to enhance ecological communication and resilience" during the International Conference of Ecology 2017 in Beijing, China. She is a graduate of Yale University.

-- Woman of Environmental Media, Marketing & Communications - Leah Zerbe: Leah Zerbe is currently senior editor for Dr. Axe, an online natural health and wellness company. Her conservation-conscious approach to writing stems from her time at Rodale Publishing, where she was an environmental health journalist.

During her time at Rodale, her work was featured on MSNBC, MSN, NBC Philadelphia, Yahoo, Organic Gardening and the Huffington Post.

In addition to her responsibilities at Dr. Axe, Zerbe and her husband run Potter’s Farm in Pine Grove, PA. Potter’s Farm is a sustainable farm named after Zerbe’s grandfather, John “Potter” Zerbe.

The mission of the farm is to provide Schuylkill County with healthy, affordable organic food. The farm grows organic strawberries, flowers, herbs, dried beans and a variety of vegetables.

A Pennsylvania native, Zerbe works and lives in the greater Philadelphia area. Before her time at Dr. Axe and Rodale Publishing, Zerbe accumulated significant media experience. She worked at Internet Broadcasting (now LAKANA), the Bucks County Courier Times, the Philadelphia Daily News and the Pottsville Republican Herald.

She is also a personal trainer with a master’s degree in exercise science from California University of Pennsylvania. She attended Temple University for journalism.

-- Woman of the Susquehanna River Watershed - Carol Parenzan: Carol Parenzan was appointed as the Middle Susquehanna Riverkeeper in 2015. She is responsible for the health of her section of the Susquehanna River and its surrounding watersheds, which includes an approximate 11,000 square-mile area defined by the north and west branches of the Susquehanna River, its tributaries and drainage area.

As Middle Susquehanna Riverkeeper, Parenzan maintains keen awareness to the health of the river and its issues while working with government agencies, communities and industry.

In 2018, Parenzan led a successful campaign to have the Loyalsock River named as the Pennsylvania River of the Year.

She launched the Floating Classroom— “Hiawatha: Clean Water is for the Birds, Hellbenders, Healthy Tributaries, and River Mapping”—which is a family-friendly educational series for those seeking to explore the Hiawatha River.

This year, Parenzan was appointed to a three-year term on the Environmental Justice Advisory Board of the Department of Environmental Protection.

Originally from Hershey, PA, Parenzan resides in Selinsgrove in Snyder County. Prior to returning home to Pennsylvania, she worked as a water system consultant and engineer in New York state. 

Parenzan is a children’s book author and volunteer deputy director for the Pennsylvania chapter of the American Canoe Association.  She is a graduate of Penn State University.

-- Woman of Renewable Energy & Climate - Susan Stewart, Ph.D.: Susan Stewart joined the Penn State faculty in 2007 and has been working in her current role in the aerospace engineering department since 2011.

She has served in several different research and teaching positions at Penn State, but her efforts always concentrate on renewable energy—particularly wind and solar power.

She was the co-author of the program proposal for the intercollege Master of Professional Studies in Renewable Energy and Sustainability Systems. In her four-year term as wind option leader for the program, she developed multiple solar and wind energy courses.

The roots of Stewart’s work in wind energy can be traced to her time as a research engineer at the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech), where she helped create the Strategic Energy Institute to address energy-related issues.

She and her colleagues used offshore wind monitoring data to provide groundbreaking information on the feasibility of wind energy as a significant source of power in the southeastern United States.

The time Stewart spent at Georgia Tech helped guide her academic direction upon her return to Penn State, which she attended for her undergraduate degree.

As part of Pennsylvania’s Wind for Schools program, she helps elementary and middle schools integrate wind energy activities into their curriculums.

Additionally, since 2009 she has been part of an interdisciplinary program that helps building-integrated wind solutions achieve maximum power output.

Stewart was born and raised in State College, PA. She attended Penn State for her bachelor’s degree and received her master’s degree and doctorate from Georgia Tech. She served as a research engineer at Georgia Tech for four years before returning home to State College in 2007.

Click Here to purchase tickets or for more information on the April 25 Women In Conservation Awards Dinner.

For more information on programs, initiatives and other upcoming events, visit the PennFuture  website.

Related Story:

PaEN: Winners Of Governor's Award For Environmental Excellence Celebrated

[Posted: April 17, 2019]


Go To Preceding Article     Go To Next Article

Return to This PA Environment Digest's Main Page