News & Events

EC Participates in 2019 NAAMLP / NASLR / PAAMR Conference

Earth Conservancy was happy to attend, present, and be an official friend of a joint conference in Pittsburgh by three amazing groups dedicated to the reclamation and reuse of abandoned mine lands:  the National Association of Abandoned Mine Land Programs (NAAMLP), the National Association of State Land Reclamationists (NASLR), and the Pennsylvania Abandoned Mine Reclamation (PAAMR) conference.  In addition to networking with academic, government, engineering, and nonprofit representatives from across the country, EC was excited to share information about its own work, including the Environmental Workforce Training Program.  At left, EC’s Director of Communications, Elizabeth W. Hughes, EdD, discusses EC’s work at her exhibitor’s table; below, from left to right: AMD treatment tour, highlighting the Melcroft AMD remediation system for the Indian Creek; panel discussion on SCMRA reauthorization; EC’s presentation on the EWT Program; Fallingwater, a short distance from AMD treatment sites.

Meuser Visits EC to Discuss AML Impacts in the 9th District

In late August 2019, EC hosted an information session with Congressman Dan Meuser of the 9th District, focusing on reauthorization of the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act – aka SMCRA – in 2021. SMCRA helps fund reclamation of abandoned mine lands (AML) across the U.S., and has been integral to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection’s Bureau of Abandoned Mine Reclamation’s ability to reclaim priority AML sites. Together, the group toured Earth Conservancy‘s reclamation work of Bliss Bank, a large section of which lies within the Congressman’s district in Newport Township. The meeting was organized by Trout Unlimited – SMCRA funds are used to mitigate acid mine drainage impacts on streams and watersheds as well. Also on hand: representatives from Senator Pat Toomey; State Senator John Yudichak; DEP BAMR; the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission; Newport Township; and EPCAMR.  Photos below, from left to right:  1.) David Kinney, Eastern Policy Director of Trout Unlimited, gives an overview of AML issues in the region and the Commonwealth; 2.) Mike Dziak, President & CEO of Earth Conservancy, discusses EC’s work at Bliss Bank; 3.) Kinney, Dziak, and Congressman Dan Meuser; 4.) Information session attendees.

 

Dziak Honored by Huber Breaker Preservation Society

On Saturday, July 20, Mike Dziak, EC’s President and CEO, was honored by the Huber Breaker Preservation Society (HBPS) with an engraved stone marker during a Heritage Day program at the Anthracite Miners’ Memorial in Ashley. Despite the heat, the event was well-attended, including state Rep. Eddie Day Pashinski; representatives from the offices of state Rep. Aaron Kaufer; state Sen. John Yudichak; Dziak; historian Tony Brooks; and members of HBPS. EC donated three acres to the HBPS for the memorial site, as well as developed plans for a heritage park centering on the connected Ashley Planes. A second marker was awarded to William Landmesser, a longtime supporter of HBPS and its work. Read more about the event in The Citizens’ Voice here.

 

EC Recieves $500,000 EPA Brownfields Cleanup Award for Bliss Bank, Phase V

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!

EC Participates in Nonprofit Leadership Certificate Program at University of Scranton

EC’s Director of Communications, Elizabeth W. Hughes, EdD, recently completed the Nonprofit Certificate Leadership Program (NCLP) at the University of Scranton.  Participants in the 2018-19 cohort, representing a variety of organizations, benefited from a rigorous schedule of readings, lectures, panel and peer group discussions, featured guests, mentoring, and a capstone project all designed to develop their leadership skills, further organizational, and advance positive community outcomes.  EC’s President & CEO, Mike Dziak, also participated as a program coach.  EC’s tuition for the program was support in part by a scholarship by The Luzerne Foundation.  Find out more about the program here:  https://www.scranton.edu/academics/ksom/accounting/nonprofit-leadership-program/index.shtml.  Congratulations to all the 2019 program graduates!

Pictured, left to right:  Douglas M. Boyle, DBA, CPA, CMA, NCLP Director, director of the Doctor of Business Administration Program, and associate professor and chair of the Accounting Department at the University of Scranton; Elizabeth W. Hughes, EdD, of Earth Conservancy; Kurt Bauman, NCLP faculty and Executive Director of the Northeast Pennsylvania Nonprofit and Community Assistance Center; and Jesse J. Ergott, NCLP faculty President & CEO of NeighborWorks Northeastern Pennsylvania.

DHL Supply Chain Adopts Sugar Notch Trail

We’re pleased to share that DHL Supply Chain‘s Hanover Township facility has adopted EC’s Sugar Notch Trails, as part of the Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful campagin. Work began in May with volunteers out in force, clearing paths, trimming overgrowth, and removing garbage. Cool to note: They’re using the illegally dumped tires as planters for their on-site garden! DHL, we love having you as a partner in the area’s revitalization. Thanks for your hard work and desire to make a difference. Interested in a hike? You can get a trail map here. Thanks to Gabby Zawacki for the photos!

 

EC at the Everhart Museum for “Art in Bloom”

Congratulations to the Everhart Museum of Natural History, Science & Art for their wonderful Community Day celebrating Art in Bloom! We at Earth Conservancy enjoyed the chance to talk about our reclamation work, and one particular wildflower that loves mine lands’ acidic soils: milkweed. If you weren’t already aware, milkweed is the only plant on which monarch butterflies lay their eggs, and which monarch caterpillars eat. Take a look at some of the creations made by those who stopped by our table. A special shout-out to Mike Korb, the inspiration for this activity, based on his presentation “Mine Reclamation and Monarch Butterfly Habitat,” available here.

 

EWT Program Closing Ceremony – 2019 Cohort

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.

 

EC Recieves $500,000 Growing Greener Award for Espy Run

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.

Groundbreaking Ceremony Held at EC’s Hanover 9 Site

Mike Dziak, EC’s President & CEO, was one of many area dignitaries on hand for a groundbreaking ceremony marking the redevelopment of EC’s former Hanover 9 site.  Purchase earlier in 2018 by Missouri-based developer NorthPoint Development, three buildings are slated for the area, including one at 1.4 million square feet – the largest such facility in northeastern Pennsylvania.  Senator John Yudichak commended Earth Conservancy on its vision and efforts, along with the ongoing support of its government, agency, and community partners.  Together, we are generating the environmental and economic progress we envisioned 24 years ago.  Read more about the event here, here, and here.  Photos credit, Amiee Digler, The Times Leader.