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Eastern Sports & Outdoor Show Recognizes Conservation Achievement in Awards
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Award Winners: Tom Fegley, Maurice Umbenhaur and Robert Miles

Three Pennsylvania conservationists received Youth Mentor, Humanitarian and Conservation Achievement Awards from the 2008 Eastern Sports & Outdoor Show which runs from February 2-10 at the Farm Show Complex in Harrisburg.

Robert H. Miles of Slippery Rock, Pa, a lifelong educator and conservationist, received the 2008 Eastern Sports & Outdoor Show Achievement Award for Conservation. 

Miles recently retired after a 35-year career as a Special Education teacher at Laurel High School in New Castle, Pa. In 1982, while at Laurel High School, Miles established the Laurel Conservation Club. Twenty-five years later the club has grown into an award-winning, highly respected conservation organization.

Over the years the club has grown to an annual membership of over 180 students in grades 7-12. More than 3,000 students have been members since 1982.

Club activities have included: 25 years of wildlife habitat improvement and tree planting; 25 years of participation in the Lawrence County Council of Conservation Clubs; 24 years of assisting the Fish and Boat Commission with stocking trout in local streams; 22 years of raising trout in two club operated nurseries (7,000 trout per year); 22 years of raising and stocking quail and pheasants; 22 years of hosting the Sportsman's Night Out at Laurel High School; Participation in creating an Educational Stewardship Forest Project on the Laurel Campus; and countless hours of volunteer participation in the Annual Ducky Derby for the American Cancer Society, the PA CleanWays Road Cleanups, the annual clean up the Coachman's Lake, and additional community conservation projects when requested.

Under the leadership of Miles, the Laurel Conservation Club has received numerous awards at the county, state and national level. These include: the 1987 Fish and Boat Commission Outstanding Achievement Award; the 1989 Fish and Boat Commission Conservation Service Award; the 1990, ’91 and ’96 PA State Association of Township Supervisors Milton W. Delancey Award; the 1990 PA Wildlife Federation Conservation "Youth Group of the Year"; the 1991 PA Federation of Sportsman's Clubs Conservation Leadership Award; the 1991 Game Commission Recognition of Excellence; the 2001 Lawrence County Conservation District Organization of the Year Award; the PA CleanWays Outstanding Group Effort Award; the 2004-05 Trout Unlimited Certificate of Appreciation; and Three Conservation Club members have been recognized as "Youth Conservationists of the Year" by the PA Wildlife Federation.

As the Advisor for the Laurel Conservation Club, Mr. Miles has received the following awards: the 1990 Lawrence County Conservation District Teacher of the Year; the 1993 Lawrence County Historical Society Hall of Fame Inductee for Outdoor Sports; Fish and Boat Commission NW Division Cooperative Nursery Manager of the Year; 1995 Three Rivers Environmental Award Finalist; the 2003 PA Outdoor Writers Association Youth Mentor of the Year; Lifetime Honorary Member of the Coachmen Club; 2007 Laurel Foundation Sports Hall of Fame Inductee; 2007 Wal-Mart Teacher of the Year; the 2007 "Bob Miles Conservation Award" was established at Laurel High School to honor one outstanding conservation club graduating senior member each year; and the 2007 Field and Stream "Hero of Conservation" Award.

The Eastern Sports & Outdoor Show Outdoor Achievement Award for Conservation is presented annually to an individual or organization in recognition of their demonstrated commitment to protecting and improving our outdoor resources and animal habitats.

Maurice “Reese” Umbenhauer Received the Eastern Sports & Outdoor Show Humanitarian Award.

Maurice “Reese” Umbenhauer, Schuylkill Haven, Pa, has received the 2008 Eastern Sports & Outdoor Show Humanitarian Award for his continuing work in promoting conservation efforts, youth outdoor education, and hunting and fishing organizations. 

In 1980, Umbenhauer and a group of concerned sportsmen formed the Stoyer’s Dam Committee to address the dam’s deteriorating condition. With Umbenhauer serving as co-chairman, the committee successfully involved the community in fundraisers, and other projects until enough money and materials were obtained to repair the dam breast and the dam dredged, and build three silt catch basins where the creek flows into the dam.

An offshoot of the Stoyer’s Dam project was the establishment of a cooperative trout hatchery which supplied fish for stocking the dam and nearby trout waters. Dredging the dam also insured the continuation of the Stoyer’s Dam Trout Fishing Rodeo held for children up to age 15. Umbenhauer served as chairman of the Trout Rodeo.

Umbenhauer has been a member of the Hawk Mountain Boy Scout Council’s Cub Scout day camp staff where he was in charge of the BB gun shooting range and he has taught Hunter-Trapper Education for more than 30 years, specializing in teaching trapping techniques and ethics.

Locally, Umbenhauer is a trustee of the East End Gun Club, an officer in the Schuylkill Haven Fish and Game Protective Association and a member of the Roedersville Game and Fish Association. He is also a member of the National Wild Turkey Federation; Delaware River Shad Fishermen’s Association; the National Rifle Association; National Parks and Conservation Association; Pheasants Forever; and the World Wildlife fund.

While representing the Schuylkill Haven Fish and Game Protective Association as club delegate to the Schuylkill County Sportsmen’s Association he was elected its vice-president and served as the Association’s President for more than 20 years.

Under his leadership, the Association grew to 48 clubs; restarted the Norm Thornburg Youth Conservation Camp, a three day overnight camp that has had 500 girls and boys take part in its program; begun the Schuylkill County Youth Field Day for children 10 to 15; contributed to the Wildlands Conservancy’s Wildlands Preservation Fund; Youth Hunter Education Challenge; Women in the Outdoors; the Nature-Link program; browse cutting projects and the growing of switchgrass.

In addition to serving the county’s sportsmen, he has served the state’s sportsmen as both the Vice-president and President of the Southeast Division of the PA Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs and as the 2nd Vice-president and 1st Vice-president of the PA Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs.

The Eastern Sports & Outdoor Show Outdoor Humanitarian Award is presented annually to an individual or organization in recognition of their demonstrated commitment to using outdoors sports and events to benefit others.

Tom Fegely received the Eastern Sports & Outdoor Show Outdoor Youth Mentor Award.

Tom Fegely of Walnutport, Pa, has received the 2008 Eastern Sports & Outdoor Show Youth Mentor Award for his efforts in promoting the outdoors and outdoor sports to young people.  

Fegely has spent his adult life working on outdoor related projects aimed at young people– including a half dozen years of volunteer work in the 1970’s developing a weekend outdoor education program through the East Penn Schools that benefited more than 125 kids by helping to developing youth education study areas in the East Penn Elementary Schools.

That was followed by writing 10 youth books--five on nature, one on organic gardening, one on recycling, and three on deer and turkey hunting. Four of the children’s books received awards by the National Science Teachers Association.

On his television show, Call of the Outdoors, broadcast on WGAL-TV in Lancaster, Fegely included youth-oriented programming on a regular basis with focus on young people of at least 15-20 percent of the 350 shows aired from 1979-1986.

In 1984, Fegely received the Distinguished Service Award from Lock Haven University for his public-service work in promoting the outdoors to young people. In 1985, Fegely received the Distinguished Service Award for youth and adult conservation education work from Lock Haven University Alumni Association.

In 1995, Fegely was honored with the Wildlands Conservancy Award of Distinction for "taking the high road and urging legions to follow, appreciate and preserve."

And, in 2002, Fegely and wife Betty Lou received the first Pennsylvania Outdoor Ambassador Award from the Department of Conservation and Natural Resource, Game Commission, Department of Community and Economic Development and Fish and Boat Commission.

The Eastern Sports & Outdoor Show Outdoor Youth Mentor Award is presented annually to an individual or organization in recognition of their demonstrated commitment to using their knowledge of the outdoors and outdoor sports to educate and help young people.

For more information, visit the 2008 Eastern Sports & Outdoor Show website.

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