News & Events
During a press event in Scranton, Cosmo Servidio, Regional Administrator for the U.S. EPA Mid-Atlantic Region (Region 3), announced Earth Conservancy was one of two local entities selected for a highly-competitive EPA Brownfields Cleanup grant. EC’s $500,000 award will be used for Phase V of its ongoing cleanup of the 200-acre, mine-scarred Bliss Bank site in Hanover Township. Approximately 60 acres have been reclaimed so far. Also receiving a grant was the Lackawanna County Coalition, comprised of the Redevelopment Authority of Lackawanna County and the City of Scranton. Their $600,000 will be used to perform multiple environmental site assessments and complete cleanup plans throughout the county. Nationally, 149 communities were selected for EPA Brownfields grant awards, totaling $64,623,553, funded through the Multipurpose, Assessment, and Cleanup Grant Programs. This is EC’s 17th Brownfields Cleanup award from the EPA. Thank you to the EPA and congratulations to all!
On April 12th we marked the end of the second cycle of the Environmental Workforce Training Program with partner Penn State Wilkes-Barre. The closing ceremony was a wonderful opportunity to say thank you to our participants for their engagement and dedication over the past two months. We then followed it with a closed career fair, giving graduates the opportunity to speak with a variety of different firms that could benefit from their new skills. Companies included Barry Isett & Associates, Inc., JHA Companies, Geo-Science Engineering & Testing, Midlantic Engineering, Williams, Cosmos Technologies Inc., Four Daughters, DHL Supply Chain, Cardinal Glass NELG, and Aerotek Recruiting and Staffing. Also on hand were program partners EPCAMR and PA CareerLink Luzerne County.
All of us at EC are thrilled with the success and growth of the EWT Program. Thank you to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for starting us off, and the PPL Foundation of PPL Electric Utilities for its continuing support. Also thanks to our partners on the ground: the Luzerne-Schuylkill Workforce Investment Board; the Lackawanna County and Pocono Counties Workforce Development Boards; the Northern Tier Regional Planning Development Commission; area PA CareerLinks, including PA CareerLink Lackawanna County and PA CareerLink Carbon County; Outreach – Center for Community Resources; Commission on Economic Opportunity (CEO); Wilkes-Barre VA Medical Center; and the Veterans Resource Coalition of NEPA.
We at EC are pleased to share we have been awarded a $500,000 Growing Greener grant for our ongoing reconstruction work of Espy Run. As stated by DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell: “We are continuously looking for ways to redevelop old mine land, particularly in Northeast Pennsylvania, and this Growing Greener grant provides much of the funding needed to continue that effort near Espy Run. Any time a stream can be restored, the community gets more use of that land.” Our thanks to PADEP for the award, and to Senator John Yudichak, Rep. Gerald Mullery, and the many other agencies, organizations, and municipalities for their support. Read more about the project in this press release from Senator Yudichak here.
The sun was shining as we marked the transfer of over 1,100 acres of Earth Conservancy lands into the Pinchot State Forest system. Located in Newport Township, the area is home to the Penobscot Ridge Mountain Biking Trail and offers excellent recreational opportunities to the public. Moreover, it preserves habitat, protects wildlife, and boosts the region’s environmental health. We are grateful for the community partnerships that made this possible, including North Branch Land Trust and the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. On hand for the event was the Secretary of DCNR, Cindy Adams Dunn, who spoke about the wealth of natural resources in the Wyoming Valley. Other speakers included Nick Lylo, Pinchot District Forester; Mike Dziak, Earth Conservancy President & CEO; Rylan Coker, NBLT Land Protection Specialist; Rep. Gerald Mullery (D-119); and Senator John Yudichak (D-14).
On Friday, September 21, 2018, EC hosted a tree planting and trail cleanup on its Hanover Recreation Fields and Sugar Notch Trail. The event was led by DHL Supply Chain, which currently operates a distribution center on what was once EC’s Huber Bank. More than a dozen employees volunteered their time, literally digging in to improve the two community resources. The group planted over 30 trees and cleared out bags and bags of trash, efforts which reflect DHL’s commitment to community involvement and sustainability. Also joining in the activities were EPCAMR and the Lackawanna River Conservation Association, the latter of which provided the maple, white birch, redbud, and oak saplings. As the young trees grow, they’ll provide a beautiful backdrop to the playing fields, as well as contribute to EC’s efforts to restore environmental health in the region. Our thanks to everyone involved. EC’s continued success only comes from collaboration with community partners like you.
Pictured below, from left to right: 1.) From DHL Supply Chain: Emily Davis, Sustainability Program Manager, and Gabby Zawacki, Environmental Specialist. 2.) DHL Supply Chain employees working on cleanup of the recreation fields parking area, before moving on to the Sugar Notch Trail. 3.) From Lackawanna River Conservation Association, Kelsey Biondo, Program Manager; and from EPCAMR, Gavin Pellitteri, Watershed GIS Specialist; Megan Hewitt, volunteer; and Rachel Grube, GIS/Watershed Specialist. 4.) View from the Jacqueline Munro Trail, looking over the Hanover Recreation fields and the now reclaimed Huber Bank. The new DHL Supply Chain facility is in the foreground.
As we begin recruitment for the next round of the EWT Program, we’re excited to announce a new program supporter, the PPL Foundation. Every year, the PPL Foundation contributes more than $2 million to a variety of nonprofit organizations, with a focus on creating vibrant, sustainable communities and empowering citizens to fulfill their potential. The EWT Program shares these goals, working with its partners to equip local unemployed and underemployed workers in the region with new, environmentally-related knowledge and skills. The $6,000 sustaining grant, awarded through a competitive application and review process, will help EC cover costs related to the training.
North Branch Land Trust has been one of Earth Conservancy’s strongest partners over the years, most recently helping us to transfer over 4,000 acres into Pennsylvania’s state forest system, as well as adding in a critical section of the Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor Trail. We were honored last night to join NBLT at its Annual Dinner & Auctions and receive its 2018 Community Stewardship award. Our thanks to NBLT and to all those who came out and supported the event. We look forward to many future collaborations with NBLT to preserve green and recreational spaces in the region, for now and for future generations. Photos, left to right: 1.) NBLT’s Executive Director, Paul Lumia, awards EC staff the 2018 Community Stewardship Award, including Mike Dziak, EC’s President/CEO; Karen Warho, EC’s Administrative Specialist; Dr. Elizabeth Hughes, EC’s Director of Communications; Rick Ruggiero, Sr., EC’s Property Documentation Specialist & Survey Coordinator; and Geoff Shaw, EC’s Executive Administrator. 2.) EC staff views award, presented with artwork done by students from Wyoming Seminary Lower School. 3.) Laura Rinehimer and Shawnese Taylor, graduates of EC’s Environmental Workforce Training Program, volunteer at the auction. 4.) Warho and Ruggiero enjoying the opening reception.