Thank you, Cynthia Berger!

After dedicating herself for six years as a ClearWater Conservancy board member, Cynthia Berger will be moving on. She and her husband Bill Carlsen (also a ClearWater volunteer), will be setting sail on their solar-powered canal boat! Cynthia has contributed countless days of her time and scientific expertise to advance the mission of ClearWater Conservancy, playing a key role in many of the organization’s recent conservation efforts such as the Slab Cabin Run Initiative. She was awarded the Barbara Fisher Volunteer of the Year Award in 2017, and her leadership has permanently enhanced ClearWater’s ability to collaborate and innovate in the best possible way.

We asked Cynthia to reflect on her time with ClearWater Conservancy, and unsurprisingly, she offered the following inspirational account of being a ClearWater Conservancy board member. Thank you, Cynthia!

Cynthia and Bill, site-stewarding at Focht Farm

Right after college I worked for a local citizen’s action group that was working to defend a water source in Massachusetts. That started my lifelong interest in water resources.

Eight years ago, my husband and I spent a year traveling 6,000 miles around eastern North America in our solar-powered boat. Along the way we got a very up close and personal look at all the different challenges facing our nation’s waters, and when I got home, I decided I had to embrace the slogan “think globally, act locally.”  I went to the ClearWater website and filled out the “I want to volunteer” form, mentioning that I was interested in serving on the board.  A few weeks later, ClearWater Conservancy contacted me, and that was the start.

I’ve been so impressed by this organization. It was already a powerhouse for conservation action when I joined the board, with a staff that’s incredibly organized, productive, and dedicated.  Since then the engines have just revved up more and more. Becoming accredited was a huge accomplishment that helps ClearWater Conservancy be even more effective, and I’m so proud of how the Slab Cabin Run project is protecting our local water supply and the rural beauty and “sense of place” in our area.

One of the things I’ve enjoyed most about my time at ClearWater Conservancy is serving as a riparian steward. My husband and I visit once a month to then young trees along a section of Slab Cabin Run. It’s been wonderful working with the landowners, who are so excited about improving the health of the stream and adding wildlife habitat and beauty to their property, while their livestock still have water access. We almost feel like we have come to know each tree personally. Seeing the native species grow and outcompete the invasive species at the site—and spotting big trout in the stream– has been really rewarding.

I’m sad to be leaving just at this moment because ClearWater has so many important and innovative new projects in the queue.  More sections of Slab Cabin Run will be restored and ClearWater is exploring a new approach to riparian protection that will benefit farmers even more. Meanwhile the new strategic plan will  be unveiled soon and set the course for conservation right through the year 2050—a visionary approach!

I’m so grateful to have had the chance to work with former director Jen Shuey, current director Deb Nardone, all the ClearWater staff, and my wonderful fellow board members. It’s been a learning and growing experience, and I can’t wait to see what the conservancy accomplishes next.

As for our plans, we will cruise our solar boat through the historic canals of Canada this summer, and serve as volunteer park rangers and naturalists in Everglades National Park in the winter.  We will be stationed in Everglades City, just south of Marco Island on Florida’s West Coast. You can follow us along on our trip by visiting

When you volunteer, you get more out of it than you put in.  I am so grateful for the experience of working with all of you, my wise, passionate, dedicated, visionary conservationist friends.  I am constantly amazed by, impressed by, and grateful for all that ClearWater accomplishes here in Central PA.

Bill and Cynthia will be volunteer park rangers in the Everglades National Park after their canal boat adventure!

Cynthia, we thank you for your passionate commitment to ClearWater Conservancy from 2012-2018. We wish you the safest and happiest travels!

Statement regarding the proposed bottled water manufacturing project in Spring/Benner Townships

Let’s talk about conserving our water resources. At a time when our community continues to prosper and grow, there’s an intensifying need to value, plan for and manage our water. A clean, reliable water supply is the life-blood of our community, providing for our families in our homes, sustaining our environment and outdoor recreation, and supporting a vibrant regional economy.


These discussions require time, science, and transparency…

When our community leaders consider new proposals such as the Nestle project recently proposed to be located in Spring/Benner Townships, the highest possible standard must be set to protect the integrity of our water supply, now and in the future. Thoroughly weighing benefits and risks of increasing demands on our water supply takes time, good science, and transparency in the decision-making process.


ClearWater Conservancy is driven by our core values – to focus on the future, act with integrity, and apply sound science to the responsible management of our natural resources. Based on our values, we believe the concept of an industry dependent

on continuous extraction and export of our region’s groundwater raises questions and concerns that have not yet been adequately addressed.


A water budget is a good first step…

While our region’s groundwater system recharges over time, there are many factors that impact the rate of recharge and the amount of water available. Drought, commercial and industrial demands, population growth, and climate change all impact the reliability of our water supply.


ClearWater supports proactive, responsible management of our water supply, and believes our growing region would benefit from an Integrated Water Resources Management Plan. Such a plan would include a water budget that would clearly quantify the amount of available water and assess current and potential future water uses, without compromising our community or economy. This type of tool must be developed before sound, science-based decisions can be made regarding potential mass mining of water.



More opportunities for community feedback…

Additionally, ClearWater Conservancy understands that proactive source water protection and land conservation efforts are valued by our community. Our community should have input into future demands on our water supply, which observes no municipal boundaries. We would ask Spring Township and the Township Water Authority to convene town hall meetings to seek input from its residents – and all those who rely on adequate ground water for drinking water in this region – to discuss the proposal and solicit community feedback.


Lastly, Nestle and all decision makers involved have a responsibility to provide our community with both short and long-term plans for water extraction. For Nestle, this means being transparent through public forums about current and future intent regarding water withdrawals. Likewise, separate water rules and rates for commercial consumptive use should be determined, because water that is permanently exported from the region is not recycled back into our local water supply.


We expect community leaders will address the questions and needs we’ve identified above, beginning with the facilitation of constructive community conversations about our water and its use before any key decisions are made about consumptive water withdrawals for Nestle.

hand drawing by Jim McClure, 1981 (Copyright Jim McClure, ClearWater Conservancy)

Please share your thoughts with us.

Please share your feedback regarding the proposed water bottling facility via this Google form. We will share your thoughts with partnering organizations and decision-makers, unless requested not to.


As always, we will keep you up to date on ClearWater’s efforts to proactively protect our region’s local natural resources for all future generations through land conservation, water resources stewardship, and environmental outreach across Central Pennsylvania.



Learn about the Spring Creek Watershed: Spring Creek Watershed ATLAS

6.16.17 Susquehanna River Basin Commission Minutes with Spring Township Water Authority Permit Approval (page 20)

 Term Sheet adopted by Spring Township Water Authority on February 28

Resolution passed on April 2 by Spring Township Board of Supervisors


Jennifer Kane’s 11th Painting for ClearWater Conservancy

Jennifer Kane’s 11th Painting for ClearWater Conservancy to be Auctioned at Art & Chocolate Winter Gala on February 9, 2018

“Slab Cabin Run Initiative” by Jennifer Kane

Size: 32” x 40,” beautifully framed with mat and glass, gratis, by State College Framing Company

Acrylic on paper

This is the 11th painting in a series of works by Jennifer Kane, created and donated specifically to commemorate and support ClearWater Conservancy’s local conservation efforts. The nationally-recognized artist donated her time, talent and materials this year to highlight the Slab Cabin Run Initiative, a community-wide source water protection effort that conserved 300 acres of farmland in the heart of State College, owned by the Meyer Family. The painting captures a vivid scene of Slab Cabin Run passing through the Meyer Family’s property.

Adrienne Waterston explains, “Jennifer begins each painting with a guided tour from ClearWater’s land conservation manager. She talks to the property owners and visits the site many times, walking the property to get a feel for its unique qualities. Exploring different views, she creates several sketches to develop a landscape portrait that represents the property as a whole.

This year’s painting, like the permanent conservation easement on the property, permanently preserves a view of the Meyer Family’s farm in State College. The painting is currently on display at Happy Valley Optical until February 9, when it will be auctioned live at ClearWater Conservancy’s Art & Chocolate Winter Gala. Tickets for the Gala can be purchased here. Don’t hesitate to call or email with any questions about the painting or event: 814-237-0400/



Nittany Noll Preserve

A scenic view from Nittany Noll Preserve

ClearWater Conservancy finalizes Conservation Easement on 452 acres, meeting Noll family’s long-time goal to preserve important natural resources and wildlife habitat

State College, PA-ClearWater Conservancy finalized a conservation easement that will protect and preserve 452 acres of mostly forested land in Pleasant Gap, PA. The property, known as Nittany Noll Preserve, had been owned by the Noll Family of Spring Township since the 1850’s and was purchased by Graymont (PA) Inc. in January 2017.

Conserving the Nittany Noll Preserve has been a long-time priority for the Noll Family. In 2006, Ray Noll, Jr. began working with ClearWater Conservancy to place a conservation easement on the land. Now, over a decade later, the easement was finalized with Graymont (PA) Inc., ensuring the property will remain healthy and intact for future generations.

On December 23, shortly after the easement was finalized, Ray Noll Jr. passed away. Kevin Abbey, land conservation manager, expressed that Ray was “a true inspiration for many of us associated with ClearWater. His enthusiasm for the Nittany Noll Preserve was contagious. We were humbled and happy the Conservation Easement was completed while he was still with us.”

“This project was incredibly important to my father, and our entire family,” explains Vivian Noll, Ray’s daughter.. “We know the Preserve has always been meaningful place for our community and we want to be sure it remains that way forever.”

Nittany Noll Preserve is now owned by Graymont (PA) Inc., a Lime and limestone supply company.  Graymont continues to own the minerals below the Preserve, while ClearWater holds the conservation easement on the surface of the property which allows for rigorous monitoring and management of the Preserve. The objective of the easement is to ensure the best ecological management for the plants and animals that depend on the forested woodland for survival, including black bear, red fox, coyote, beaver, turkey, blue heron, woodcock, and golden winged warbler.  The establishment of the easement also ensures that local residents will have continued access to “scenery that’s a favorite among locals and offers views of the Valley as impressive as those offered on Mount Nittany,” as described by Doug Wion, chair  of ClearWater’s all-volunteer, Land Conservation and Stewardship Committee. 

Founded in 1980, ClearWater Conservancy is a nationally-accredited land trust organization with a mission of to conserve and restore the natural resources through land conservation, water resource stewardship and environmental outreach across central Pennsylvania.


Chicory Lane Farm

Chicory Lane Farm

Date Conserved: July 25, 2017

As a result of a meaningful collaboration with landowners John and Catherine Smith, Chicory Lane is now permanently conserved under a conservation easement with ClearWater Conservancy.

Chicory Lane Farm is an ecologically dynamic wonder nestled in the shadow of Brush Mountain just a couple miles east of Spring Mills, Centre County. The 68+ acre property, owned by John and Catherine Smith, is within the headwaters of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed and drains to Penns Creek, a High Quality Cold Water Fishery as defined by PA Water Quality Standards.

Unique site features of this remarkable property include:
  • A 16-acre grassland including both warm- and cool-season grasses and a pollinator field
  • 5 different types of wetlands (riparian zone, wet meadow, a cattail marsh, old farm pond, as well as shallow vernal pools
  • 3 forest types (mixed shrub palustrine woodland, successional hemlock-red oak mixed hardwood, and 12.8 acre upland hardwood re-forestation area)
  • Darker skies than many places. In fact, the conservation easement includes unique protection from unwanted skyglow, which can impair nocturnal resources essential to plants and animals through various life-sustaining behaviors including reproduction, nourishment, and protection from predators.

The Chicory Lane Farm website,, is an abundant repository for detailed information and resources associated with this wonderful property.

As an environmental gem, Chicory Lane has been used by naturalists, sustainable foresters and educators as a teaching laboratory for property owners throughout Central Pennsylvania and beyond. The property has also been a faithful and abiding witness to artistic expression from musicians, painters and poets — of all ages.

ClearWater is honored and delighted to be the Holder of the perpetual conservation easement on Chicory Lane Farm. It’s with ongoing support from landowners and the community that ClearWater Conervancy is able to conserve one-of-a-kind ecosystems such as Chicory Lane Farm.

If you have questions about the property or this unique conservation easement, please contact Kevin Abbey, Land Conservation Manager, via phone: 814-237-0400 or email:

Location Map:






STATE COLLEGE, PA-With the engaged and passionate support of the community, ClearWater Conservancy has raised 100% of its $2.75 million fundraising goal for the Slab Cabin Run Initiative. The fundraising effort began in October 2016 and now has been achieved due to generous contributions from a variety of public and private donors — individuals, municipalities, school children, local businesses and social organizations.

“It’s amazing what our small community has done!  We set out on this journey with the belief that we could achieve this ambitious goal when people are given the opportunity to conserve the places we love most.  And together, we did it!” offers Deb Nardone, Executive Director.

“This community had the foresight to proactively conserve an important gem in the heart of this growing region, protecting our drinking water, while stepping up for a wild trout stream and this gorgeous landscape we enjoy every day,” said Andy Warner, Conservancy board president.

The iconic farmland, owned by the Everhart and Meyer families for well over a century, sits just across a busy street from the State College Friends School along University Drive. The land lies in a critically important part of the Spring Creek Watershed, immediately adjacent to region’s most reliable drinking water source, the Harter-Thomas wells which supply the majority of the drinking water to State College area residents.

The fundraising effort was collaboration between many groups and individuals.  Starting with the generosity of the Hamer Foundation, funding then followed from the State College Borough Water Authority and five local municipalities – College, Ferguson, Harris, and Patton townships along with State College Borough.

“From the very beginning, our goal was to aim for balanced public and private support. We knew we would need municipal decision makers and the water authority to lead the campaign to proactively protect and invest in healthy drinking water and clean streams.  Then community members and local businesses would follow suit.  Thanks to everyone who took the time to understand the project and make an investment in our future – we were able to accomplish this remarkable goal,” according to Carolyn Hatley a ClearWater volunteer.

Through an amazing response from the community, private donations make up the remaining 30% needed to fulfill the fundraising goal. There has been an overwhelming number of creative displays of community support for the Initiative over the past year,  including:  support from Otto’s Pub and Brewery who increased awareness for the project through sales of their Slab Cabin IPA, a multi-family yard sale that raised $2,500 in one day in Everhart Village, students at the State College Friends’ School whose “cow cans” collected donations at area businesses,  Jennifer Shuey, Jennifer Kane, Sarah Pollock and Alice Kelsey donating artwork, 7 year-old Georgia Wright emptying her piggybank for the cause, and many more.

Additional ‘conservation heroes’ helped boost the communities strong support and made it possible for Clearwater to reach their goal in just under eleven months, including Charles “Skip” Smith,  Barbara Palmer,  Blake and Linda Gall and David Kurtz.   Foxdale Village and its residents also made a significant impact on the fundraising effort.

Nardone adds, “We are humbled and joyful to see such diversified support for local conservation.  Protecting our drinking water at its source is vital to a healthy, vibrant community.  This project proves that we can approach this great responsibility in a cooperative way that benefits everyone.  We are so appreciative.”

Settlement on the Conservation Easements has been scheduled for next week.  Once the agreement is finalized, ClearWater Conservancy will hold perpetual conservation easements on both the farms and Meyer Dairy will take ownership of the Everhart property. A conservation easement is a legally binding restriction on the property deed to protect natural resources, ensuring protection of the farmland and stream corridor forever, no matter who owns the land.

To celebrate this significant achievement and voice our appreciation to those who made it possible, ClearWater Conservancy invites the public to attend the Slab Cabin Celebration & Annual Meeting being held Saturday, October 7 from 5:30-9 pm at the Universalist Unitarian Fellowship in State College. The event will feature live music by Eric Ian Farmer and others local musicians, children’s activities, local food, and drinks. The event is free, but registration is requested via the website:

For more information about the Slab Cabin Run Initiative, visit www. or contact ClearWater Conservancy directly at or call 814-237-0400.


ClearWater Conservancy Earns National Recognition


Contact: Andrea Murrell, Communications Coordinator


ClearWater Conservancy Earns National Recognition

Strong Commitment to Public Trust and Conservation Excellence

State College, PA (August 16, 2017) –Since 1986, ClearWater Conservancy has been conserving and protecting the places people love all around Central Pennsylvania. Now ClearWater Conservancy has been awarded renewal of its land trust accreditation from the Land Trust Accreditation Commission. Originally achieved in 2012 and now renewed through 2022, this accreditation award proves once again that, as part of a network of only 389 accredited land trusts across the nation, ClearWater is committed to professional excellence and to maintaining the public’s trust in its conservation work.

“Renewal of our accreditation demonstrates our ongoing commitment to permanent land conservation throughout Central Pennsylvania,” said Deb Nardone, executive director for the Conservancy. “This national recognition amplifies our dedication to making our local region a healthy and beautiful place for us and our children’s children. Through proactive protection of special places such as the Meyer and Everhart properties in the heart of State College, we will continue to uphold this commitment to our community.”

ClearWater Conservancy had to provide extensive documentation and undergo a rigorous comprehensive review of its policies, protocols and procedures as part of accreditation which must be renewed every five years.  Nationwide almost 20 million acres of farms, forests and natural areas vital to healthy communities are now permanently conserved by an accredited land trust.

“It is exciting to recognize ClearWater Conservancy with this distinction,” said Tammara Van Ryn, executive director of the Land Trust Accreditation Commission. “Accredited land trusts are united behind strong ethical standards ensuring the places people love will be conserved forever. Accreditation recognizes ClearWater Conservancy has demonstrated sound finances, ethical conduct, responsible governance, and lasting stewardship.”

Since its formation in 1980, ClearWater Conservancy has made a lasting positive impact on the Central Pennsylvania through countless land conservation and stream restoration efforts targeting such  vital natural areas such as Rhoneymeade, Millbrook Marsh, the Musser Gap Greenway and The Barrens to Bald Eagle Wildlife Corridor.

In the spirit of an accredited land trust, the organization is currently working hard to raise the final funds needed to complete its most significant source water protection effort to date. The Slab Cabin Run Initiative, named for the stream that flows through the property, aims to permanently conserve 300 acres of agricultural land located across the street from the State College Friends School and Foxdale Village along University Drive.  The property lies in a vital portion of the Spring Creek Watershed, within the Source Water Protection Area for the Harter-Thomas wells which supply the majority of the drinking water to Centre Region residents.  ClearWater Conservancy has raised $2.43, or 89% of the $2.75 million needed by September 30 to finalize the agreement with the owners, the Meyer and Everhart families of State College.

Kevin Abbey, land conservation manager at ClearWater Conservancy explains, “We’re thankful to the Meyer and Everhart families for their generosity and desire to partner with ClearWater Conservancy in order permanently conserve their properties.  Landowners take on a huge responsibility when deciding who will care for their land generations from now. I believe the renewal of our national accreditation offers an added layer of trust and confidence when making those big decisions.”

ClearWater Conservancy Comes Down the Home Stretch in Effort to Protect Local Water Supply by Permanently Conserving 300 Acres of Farmland


ClearWater Conservancy Comes Down the Home Stretch in Effort to Protect Local Water Supply by Permanently Conserving 300 Acres of Farmland

STATE COLLEGE, PA-ClearWater Conservancy, a nationally accredited land trust serving Centre and surrounding counties, has raised $2.4 million towards a $2.75 million goal for the Slab Cabin Run Initiative, an effort to permanently conserve 300 acres of agricultural land owned by the Meyer and Everhart Families of State College. Located next to densely populated neighborhoods—across the street from the State College Friends School and Foxdale Village along University Drive—the property lies in a vital portion of the Spring Creek Watershed, within the Source Water Protection Area for the Harter-Thomas wells which supply the majority of the drinking water to Centre Region residents.

In the time since the project was publicly announced on October 28, 2016, community support from a variety of groups and individuals, along with support from municipalities in the region that depend on the wells as a water source, has helped ClearWater Conservancy raise 88% of the funds needed to fully fund a land conservation easement on the property. “We’re getting very close to crossing the finish line. With continued community support, we’ll raise the remaining $322,000 needed by September 30 in order to make this important project happen,” says Andrea Murrell, ClearWater Conservancy’s Communications Coordinator.

Community support for the initiative has been diverse and inventive. “From community yard sales to school fundraisers led by students in kindergarten and first grade, we are encouraged and moved by the community’s willingness to commit their time and energy to ensure this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity does not pass us by,” says Deb Nardone, ClearWater Conservancy’s executive director. In June, a community-wide yard sale fundraiser raised $2,500 for the Initiative in a single day.

Support for the Initiative has also come from the Hamer Foundation. ClearWater Conservancy contributed $750,000 from from the Foundation toward the project.

So far, support from individuals in the community has added up to over $400,000 towards the conservation project. The first major donor put the effort on track by offering a $50,000 challenge grant during ClearWater Conservancy’s Annual Meeting on October 28; his pledge was matched fully by those in attendance that evening. Another $50,000 was raised during Centre Foundation’s Centre Gives online giving event on May 9-10. Private individuals, many who will remain anonymous, have been giving throughout the year.

After public meetings that began last fall, the State College Borough Water Authority, Ferguson Township, College Township, State College Borough, Harris Township, and Patton Township voted to contribute a combined $1,240,000 to fund the project.

Notably, the project has struck a chord with young ice cream lovers. Lisa Gamble, associate head of the State College Friends School says, “Helping ClearWater raise money for their initiative was a perfect opportunity for our students to practice two of our school’s tenets — community and stewardship — while also learning more about the importance of agricultural land in protecting groundwater.” The school held two fundraisers, including a ‘cow can’ campaign led by the Kindergaten-1st grade class that raised $350. The students and teachers also contributed the adopted term ‘forever farm’ to describe one of the Initiative’s ultimate goals.

Many artists and area businesses have also contributed their time and talent toward permanently conserving the Meyer and Everhart farms in State College. To emphasize the link between clean water and a healthy community, Otto’s Pub & Brewery donates proceeds of their Slab Cabin IPA sales, and also raises awareness of the project via table tents and beer tags. In February, local artist Jennifer Shuey donated her original painting of Slab Cabin Run  created for the labels on University Wine Company’s Slab Cabin Red and Slab Cabin White, for an auction at ClearWater’s Art & Chocolate Winter Gala. Proceeds from wine sales also go toward the Slab Cabin Run Initiative.
Shuey, J - Where the Slab Cabin Runs

Jennifer Shuey, ClearWater volunteer, dedicated conservationist, and pastel artist explains, “I am immensely proud of the work that ClearWater Conservancy is doing to protect the Meyer and Everhart Farms in the Slab Cabin Run watershed.  It is so much more effective to proactively engage the community in conservation of important lands and resources before development plans are offered as an alternative.  This is not only a great project, but an inspired example of a way that the community as a whole can assess, prioritize, and plan for conservation of the region’s most critical resources.  Let’s get this one done and figure out as a community where we can make the biggest impact next!” Seen to the left is an image of her recent painting, Where the Slab Cabin Runs.

Presently, artists Sarah Pollock and Alice Kelsey are creating original paintings of local landscapes, exploring the Centre region’s unique balance of natural areas, farms, forests and picturesque communities. Proceeds from their upcoming show in November will be donated to ClearWater’s efforts.

The public can keep track the fundraising progress by driving along University Drive and looking for the giant milk jug on the Meyer property. The jug, intended to resemble a glass milk bottle from Meyer Dairy, was hand-built by local woodworker Jay Aubuchon and hand-painted by artist Jon Vickers-Jones.  Jay regularly fills the jug with “milk,”, a.k.a. white paint, as ClearWater approaches its goal.

“We think this project hits home for people in so many ways,” says Kevin Abbey, land conservation manager at ClearWater Conservancy. “Whether it’s protecting our drinking water, local streams, or the incredible view the property offers, our friends and neighbors clearly understand the magnitude of this effort. It’s tough to imagine ever having another opportunity to make such a positive impact on our community at such a reasonable cost. We’re thankful to the Meyer and Everhart families for their generosity and desire to permanently conserve their land.”

Once all funds are secured by September 30, the legal agreement can be executed and the Meyer and Everhart properties will be permanently conserved. Under a conservation easement, only agricultural use of the land will be permitted.  While the Meyer Family will own the land, ClearWater Conservancy will hold the perpetual conservation easement, a legally binding encumbrance on the property deed, ensuring protection of the farmland and stream corridor forever, no matter who owns the land.

For more information about the Slab Cabin Run Initiative and for information regarding donations, visit www. or contact ClearWater Conservancy directly at or call 814-237-0400.


The mission of ClearWater Conservancy is to conserve and restore the natural resources through land conservation, water resource stewardship and environmental outreach across central Pennsylvania

Centred Outdoors Activities Heading into Home Stretch


STATE COLLEGE, PA-Centred Outdoors, an invitation for people of all ages and fitness levels to explore nine outdoor destinations across Centre County, has  led hundreds of participants on outdoor adventures all around Centre County. The effort was launched on June 11 by ClearWater Conservancy with support from partnering organizations and funded by a grant from the Centre Foundation.  The response to this new initiative has been fantastic, with kids and adults exploring the outdoors on 642 personal adventures and hiking more than 800 cumulative miles during the first 13 outings.  People are encouraged to register on the Centerd Outdoors website to participate in the remaining seven events, which are free and open to the public, or to explore these destinations on their own (

Lucas Murrell

“We are extremely pleased that so many people have come out to explore the natural places that make Central Pennsylvania such a healthy and beautiful place to live. We look forward to meeting more new faces at upcoming events happening in State College,” explains Deb Nardone, Executive Director of ClearWater Conservancy.


At some of the Centred Outdoors’ guided outings such as those at Black Moshannon State Park and the Spring Creek Canyon, participants learned about local flora and fauna, while at Bellefonte’s Talleyrand Park and the Poe Paddy Tunnel offered historic perspectives. The events at Spring Creek Canyon during the week of July 16 were led by PA Fish and Boat Commission, Spring Creek Trout Unlimited, and local legends and experts who brought to life the unique habitat and features that contribute to Spring Creek’s reputation as a world-famous fly fishing stream.   Fly-fishing legend Joe Humphreys offered instruction to novice anglers, and Mark Nale, an accomplished outdoor photographer and author, guided participants on a relaxing nature walk as he identified plants and wildlife along the cool, shaded trail. Events at Poe Paddy Tunnel featured native plant and bird walks and fishing demonstrations led by Penns Valley Conservation Association and the Penns Creek Chapter of Trout Unlimited, This Sunday, July 30, 78 hikers attended guided walks and visited information stations at Millbrook Marsh Nature Center.


MMNC3Centred Outdoors participants can follow the event calendar and select their destinations via the website, where specific information is listed, including directions and parking, difficulty of trail, and local ecology. Participants who register on the website receive frequent email updates and are eligible to wine prize drawing based on the number of e-trophies they earn. The number of trophies then determines the number of chances to win prizes at the Wrap-Up Party on August 20 at Millbrook Marsh.


“We are thrilled with the generosity of our community partners in providing some spectacular prizes, ranging from back packs to bikes, boats, and fishing poles as incentives to participate” says Deb Nardone. She hopes that the Centred Outdoors model with its newly created infrastructure, including the website, Android app, and print materials will inspire similar future outings and events with the goal to familiarize the local population with its natural environment while promoting healthy lifestyles and engagement with local non-profits.


Mark NaleIt is not too late to collect e-trophies for attending Centered Outdoors hikes and walks at the next five events between August 2-August 16 at Millbrook Marsh, the Arboretum at Penn State and Mount Nittany; or by visiting any of the nine sites on your own. All events are free, and open to the public.


Lexie Orr, adventure coordinator for Centred Outdoors and AmeriCorps member explains, “We invite everyone in Centre County to stress less and explore more during our remaining Centred Outdoors events. On August 20, our goal is to report that we collectively hiked over 1,200 miles during 1,000 personal adventures this summer and we are well on our way to reaching this milestone. ”