News & Events
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.
Good news for Earth Conservancy from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. EPA Mid-Atlantic Region this week! The third segment of our Espy Run stream restoration project has been awarded a $200,000 Brownfields Cleanup grant. Funding will be used to reconstruct 400′ of former stream channel, which will link earlier phases of the project to our work on Phase III of the Bliss Bank reclamation. Thank you to USEPA for its ongoing support, and to our many municipal, educational, and community partners who helped make our application a success! Read the full press release here.
A enormous congratulations is due to the graduates of our first cohort of the Environmental Workforce Training Program. These students, who completed 205 hours of environmentally-focused coursework with our partner Penn State Wilkes-Barre, were positive, committed, and engaged. And now they’re seeking new careers where they can use all the knowledge and skills they have learned. Reach out to us here at Earth Conservancy if you’re looking to hire! Thank you to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for its support of the EWT Program through an EWDJT grant. Thank you also to our other partners who helped us in so many ways, including PA CareerLink Luzerne County at Wilkes-Barre, PA Careerlink Lackawanna, EPCAMR, EOTC, our local VA office, many area companies, and the four workforce development boards that make up the 12-county region the program serves: Luzerne-Schuylkill Workforce Investment Board, the Lackawanna County and Pocono Counties Workforce Development Boards, and the Northern Tier Regional Planning Development Commission. None of this could have happened without all of you.
Pictured below, from left to right: Jane Ashton, Director of Continuing Education at Penn State Wilkes-Barre, addresses attendees; Steven Lee receives his certificate of completion; Erica Sidorowicz receives her certificate; program graduates, instructors, and administrators gather at PSU Wilkes-Barre for a group photo.
Earth Conservancy received an enormous boost to its Bliss Bank reclamation project. On April 6, Governor Tom Wolf announced EC would receive one of 12 grants supporting cleanup and revitalization of abandoned mineland sites in Pennsylvania. EC’s $2.5 million award will continue reclamation of the legacy site, including reconstruction of Espy Run, and add in infrastructure and utility connections. Funding from EC, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development will also underwrite different aspects of the overall project. Our deep thanks to Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement and Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection for their ongoing support of and commitment to EC’s work.
Earth Conservancy was one of 39 accepted poster presentations at the 2017 National Brownfields Conference in Pittsburgh, PA. Held at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, the conference featured a roster of speakers, workshops, and events over the course of three days covering brownfields revitalization around the country and the world. It was a great opportunity to share the work EC has been doing here in northeastern Pennsylvania with so many invested in land recovery and reuse. Pictured below: Left: Dr. Elizabeth W. Hughes stands in front of EC’s poster presentation; Right: View looking west along the Allegheny River, towards Heinz Field from the roof of the Convention Center.
On November 14, 2017, Earth Conservancy received $2 million in state funding through the Multimodal Transportation Fund program. The grant will support the construction of three access roads to will connect three reclaimed properties to the new South Valley Parkway in order to encourage economic development. We thank Senator John Yudichak and Representative Gerald Mullery for helping to secure this funding, as well as their ongoing support of our mission of regional revitalization. We also extend our thanks to Reilly Associates, who assisted with preliminary engineering design for our application. A truly exciting opportunity for Earth Conservancy and the communities we serve.
Earth Conservancy was both a presenter and exhibitor at the 19th Annual PA Abandoned Mine Reclamation Conference, which was held on June 22 at Genetti’s in Wilkes-Barre. The day featured many interesting speakers who shared their thoughts and plans of dealing with AML impacts across the country – and in some cases, the world. We were also happy to host guests at our Askam Borehole AMD Treatment System who toured sites showcasing – and solving – the impacts of legacy coalmining in the region the day before. A big thanks and congratulations to all involved! Images, from left to right: 1.) Dr. Elizabeth Hughes staffs Earth Conservancy’s informational exhibit.; 2.) The always popular, AML-themed magnetic poetry.; 3.) Staff of EPCAMR, celebrating near the end of a well-done conference.
On National Trails Day 2017, Earth Conservancy officially renamed part of its Sugar Notch Trail after our late colleague, Jackie. Beginning in the Broadhead Avenue playground in Sugar Notch, the Jacqueline Munro Trail features an updated sign with a memorial penned by Jackie’s friends and co-workers. It reads: “Jacqueline Munro (1962-2014) was a smart and spirited member of Earth Conservancy’s team for 11 years. Throughout her life, she graced the world with her generosity, optimism, and wit. For those who knew Jackie, her kindness and affection were boundless – especially for her four-legged friends. We dedicate this trail in celebration of her memory.”
It was great afternoon for us at Earth Conservancy, as we hosted the U.S. EPA Mid-Atlantic Region’s Regional Administrator Cecil Rodrigues to announce three $200,000 brownfields cleanup grants for our continuing work on reclaiming Bliss Bank and restoring Espy Run. Also part of the celebration: another $200,000 award from the EPA’s Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training program, which Earth Conservancy will use to start its Environmental Workforce Training Program with its partner, Penn State Wilkes-Barre. In addition to Mr. Rodrigues, speakers included EC’s President/CEO, Mike Dziak; Congressman Lou Barletta’s District Director, Conrad Falvello; and Penn State Wilkes-Barre’s Chancellor, Dr. Dale Jones. Other partners on the EWT Program include the Luzerne-Schuylkill Workforce Investment Board; the Lackawanna County and Pocono Counties Workforce Development Boards; the Northern Tier Regional Planning Development Commission; EOTC; and EPCAMR. Our thanks to everyone who helped make this an amazing event and continue to support our work.
Pictured below, left to right: 1.) EPA Project Officer Jeff Barnett chats with Dr. Dale Jones, Chancellor of PSU Wilkes-Barre; 2.) EPA Region 3 Acting Administrator Cecil Rodrigues talks with PSU Wilkes-Barre faculty and staff, including Jane Ashton (center), Director of Continuing Education; 3.) Crowd awaiting the award announcements; 4.) Mr. Rodrigues; 5.) Mr. Dziak; 6.) Mr. Favello; 7.) Dr. Jones; 8.) View of Hanover 9 field, where event occurred.
EC continued its Earth Day celebration on Sunday with a cleanup of the Sugar Notch playground, home to one trailhead of the Park Access Sugar Notch Trail. The group was small but mighty, picking up trash, clearing planting beds, and spreading new wood chips from EC’s compost facility. Our thanks to the volunteers, especially the students from Wilkes University’s Environmental Club. What a difference!