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2022 ClearWater Conservancy Award Winners:
Genie Robine, 2022 Barbara Fisher Volunteer of the Year Award, named in 2005 to honor Barbara Fisher for her 25 years of dedicated and passionate service to ClearWater Conservancy. Genie has been involved with Watershed Cleanup Day since the very beginning, she has been a site coordinator since that first year in 1999 and has served on the committee since 2003. As her nomination states, “ Not only involved, but pretty much single-handedly handles all things Benner Township including arranging liaisons with the Township, arranging trucking, attending meetings and participating fully in Committee meetings. She spends oodles of time outside of WCD scouting sites and communicating with both Clearwater staff and CCRRA staff about the conditions and desired outcomes regarding these sites. Genie has been such a constant that her presence and contributions so often get taken for granted. I'm sure at some point when something gets left undone, the answer to the question, ""Who always took care of that?"" will always be Genie!!" In addition to her work for Watershed Cleanup Day, Genie has shared her passion and expertise for nature with many other groups. She taught science and biology for the Bellefonte School District for many years. Her work in developing a program to bring young students to Millbrook Marsh to experience nature first-hand led to the creation of the Connections program. She was recognized as the Centre County Conservation Educator of the Year for this work. Genie has severed on the Benner Township Planning Commission as as the Benner Township representative to the Spring Creek Wtershed Commission. Her assistance with the Spring Creek Water Resources Monitoring Project Field Work has been outstanding. She also helped with Clearwater’s Native Nursery for many years. In addition, Genie is a charter member of PASEC, the Pennsylvania Senior Environmental Corps, where she conducts water quality monitoring on the Little Fishing Creek. She also leads the macroinveterbrate counts for all the PASEC sites.
Joe Bishop, 2022 Don Hamer Leadership Award Joe has been co-chairing the annual Golf Fest for nineteen years. The Fest has generated over $1.3 million for ClearWater during this period. Joe was instrumental in landing Otto's Pub and Brewery as the main sponsor of the event 19 years ago and continuing to work with them over the years. In his co-chair role, he coordinates all of the on- course Fest golf activity with Mt. View Country Club. His creative input to the design of the Fest rules and unique gimmicks are the main reason the event has remained so popular. In addition he personally solicits many of the prizes that are awarded to golfers or raffled off. He is also the principal solicitor of several corporate sponsors and individual foursomes for the Fest. Joe makes sure his friends are involved in some aspect of the tournament. On the day of the event he arrives at the course at the crack of dawn and supervises the course set up. During the morning he makes sure everything runs smoothly on the course. When the event is all over, he's one of those working diligently to cleanup and demobilize. He works tirelessly behind the scenes to make the Fest successful. Joe is highly deserving of the award for the many volunteer hours that he devotes to Golf Fest throughout the year, his attention to many details to make sure the event goes off without a hitch and his commit to ClearWater. In addition to his work on Golf-Fest, Joe has been a long-term volunteer for ClearWater in other areas. He served on the Board of Directors from 2004-2015, and as a member of the Land Conservation & Stewardship Committee. He was involved with the riparian buffer planting on the Mountain View golf course where Spring Creek runs through the property. He lends his expertise on biodiversity, love of nature and local knowledge.
Chris Magent, 2022 Don Hamer Leadership Award Chris has served on the Board of Directors for Clearwater since 2007. He has served various roles on the executive committee since 2010. Chris completed research in the field of sustainable building design and construction and earned his PhD in Architectural Engineering from Penn State. He is the Chief Operating Officer for the Butz Family of companies. He has brought to his volunteer work this expertise gained from his professional and educational background. This has allowed him to provide valuable insights into many of the topics and issues the board has faced during his tenure. Chris chaired the first long-range capital campaign, spearheading a successful $2.3 million effort to fund our endowments. Chris has been an enthusiastic participant in board discussions and as a member of the Executive Committee. He has worked to mentor the organization on efficient management practices. And he has helped establish financial support to ensure long-term sustainability into the future. Chris has also supported our fundraising events, with Alexander Building Company being a platinum sponsor at Golf-Fest for many years and also being a strong bidder at Art & Chocolate events with this wife April. “I love the collaborative way we conduct our business. We look to join forces with like-minded people ¬— and in some cases people you wouldn’t think would be like-minded — to conserve the beauty that we have in our region.”
Justin Ulanoski & Native Creations Landscape Services, 2022 Community Conservation Commendation Award Justin Ulanoski, Founder and President of Native Creations Landscape Services, has been a conservation partner and dedicated supporter of ClearWater for 15 years. Native Creations designs, plants and stewards streamside forests with ClearWater’s Riparian Conservation Program, regularly donating some of their time and materials. In addition to restoring streamside forests, Native Creations also provides many other conservation services, including low-maintenance landscaping with native plants, wildflower meadows, rain gardens and stormwater management. Because of Justin’s personal and professional commitment to restoring native plants in our landscapes and his selfless devotion to conservation of natural resources, Native Creations has been a superb conservation partner of ClearWater’s for many years. In 2017 when conservation grants became available to small businesses in PA, Justin said, “We’ll apply for these grants to provide more funding for your projects so, together, we can get more streamside forests restored, faster.” Since then, Native Creations has provided over $300,000 in matching funds to ClearWater’s Riparian Conservation projects. Native Creations also developed a new method for planting streamside forests using 3-gallon, air-pruned tree and shrub stock, without tree shelters, instead of smaller conservation grade plants that require the protection of tree shelters and a great deal of long-term maintenance. Since adopting this new approach, ClearWater and Native Creations have successfully established numerous streamside forests that have higher tree survival and grow into forests faster than plantings done with smaller seedlings and tree shelters. Because of their technical knowledge and willingness to spend time on our projects, Native Creations essentially functions as part of our riparian team. They always make sure they take time to develop great relationships with our landowners, other conservation partners and funders. ClearWater’s reputation as being "good at stream buffers" is in enhanced by our long-standing partnership with Native Creations, their high-quality work and their dedication to helping us restore and steward the natural resources of Central PA. Native Creations’ staff are regularly seen attending ClearWater’s annual celebration, sponsoring Golffest and bidding on Art at our Winter Gala. But their greatest contributions come from being fantastic conservation partners to work with and in helping to make ClearWater’s streamside forests successful.
George Harvey Memorial Award Winners:
Awarded jointly by Spring Creek Chapter of Trout Unlimited and ClearWater Conservancy
Roger Garthwaite, 2020/2021 Recipient: There is no more worthy recipient than Roger Garthwaite, the father of Otto’s Golf Fest -- and really so much more. Roger is a former ClearWater Conservancy board member, joining after getting to know more about ClearWater when he generously supported ClearWater with the highly successful Otto’s Golf Fest Fundraiser. Now in its 19th year, we’re so very grateful to have raised more than $1.3M for our conservation efforts. It seems that there is not an event or initiative that Roger doesn’t ask how he can support, volunteer or donate in some way. He understands that his time and investment in the protection of Spring Creek means much more than to just him -- he does it for his family and our community. You need clean water to have great beer. You need vision and leadership from our business leaders to sustain a healthy community. Roger gets that. Roger Garthwaite, He inspires and welcomes us all to join him in his love for his home and his home waters.
Bob Vierck, 2022 Award Recipient: George Harvey was the father of the Penn State Flyfishing program, an author, and a mentor to the area’s flyfishing community. The George Harvey Award is named after him to acknowledge his outstanding contributions to conservation and preservation of the Spring Creek Watershed. Bob Vierck’s contributions to the Watershed continue George’s legacy. Bob grew up in State College, but he moved away after college. After retiring he returned to State College in 2004 and became actively involved with the Spring Creek Chapter of Trout Unlimited, eventually becoming President from 2014 to 2018. While he was President, the Chapter won Trout Unlimited’s 2016 Gold Trout Award for the best chapter in the Nation. The citation reads as follows: “The Spring Creek Chapter's conservation and angler science activities this year are more than enough to earn accolades: over 1.5 miles of riparian habitat planted, 13 in-stream structures built, water quality monitoring, redd count and angler surveys totaling more than 4,500 hours and valued at over $210,000. However, behind all that conservation activity are the myriad was the chapter reaches into the community. The chapter is constantly hosting events and activities, including their robust Veterans Service Partnership program where hundreds of veterans have experienced the power of both healing and community, thanks to SCCTU." Mick McCorcle In addition to this national recognition Bob developed the Chapter website, which was acknowledged as the best chapter website in Pennsylvania region in 2016. Also, the Chapter won the award for the most significant membership increase in 2017. Notwithstanding his exemplary leadership of the Chapter, his development and execution of stream restoration projects are Bob’s most significant contributions to the watershed. Bob began by volunteering to work on projects shortly after he arrived in State College, but soon moved on to measuring the health of the stream, designing solutions, estimating the pollution reduction, submitting project grants, overseeing their accomplishment, and paying the bills. Over the past 15 years more than $1 million worth of stream improvements have been installed on Spring Creek primarily because of his successful pursuit of funding, and his leadership to develop partnerships among multiple governmental and non-profit organizations to accomplish the work. In 2022 alone four projects in the Watershed were completed. His leadership in conservation work has significantly reduced pollution in the Spring Creek and improved the habitat quality for aquatic life, especially wild trout. George would be proud.