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PA NRCS Recognized at PACD Conference

As representatives from across the Commonwealth gathered in Williamsport for the Pennsylvania Association of Conservation Districts (PACD)/State Conservation Commission’s 72nd Joint Annual Conference, several conservationists were recognized at an awards luncheon on July 17, 2019. Among them, was Denise Coleman, State Conservationist of the Pennsylvania USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) who was presented the PACD President’s Award.

Selected by the PACD Executive Board President, Coleman received the President’s award in recognition of her outstanding efforts that have resulted in furthering the accomplishments of PACD.

“Denise understands the important role that conservation districts play in the conservation partnership,” said Brenda Shambaugh, PACD Director.  “She has always been willing to work with Conservation Districts and PACD whenever she can and continues to support the great work that conservation districts do in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.”Denise Coleman awarded the 2019 PACD President's Award

Denise helped establish Strategic Watershed Action Teams or SWAT program where NRCS provided 75 percent cost-share funding for more than seven full-time equivalent Conservation District Technicians each year in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.

When the SWAT Program with DEP ended six years and $1.8 million dollars later, PA NRCS provided another $1.8 million dollars for a new agreement to continue the funds for conservation districts in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. The new agreement also continues the cost-share match for the PACD Technical Assistance Grant (TAG) and supports training programs such as the Introduction to Conservation Planning and Boot Camp Level One and Level Two trainings.

Through Denise’s leadership, PA NRCS has also supported other conservation districts projects such as the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) and Conservation Innovation Grants.

Pennsylvania NRCS was also presented with the Partnership Training Award for outstanding training efforts, which was accepted by Gwendolyn Crews. PA NRCS has a strong, ongoing commitment to providing conservation planning training and ag-conservation best management practices (BMPs) design and installation training for both NRCS employees and Pennsylvania conservation partner employees.

 “NRCS’s commitment to provide staff trainers to the Pennsylvania Agricultural Conservation ‘Boot Camp’ Training Program for the past 21 years has been outstanding and has been provided by NRCS at considerable cost to their agency,” said Shambaugh. “NRCS and the State Conservation Commission (SCC) have committed to continually invest in the development of local and highly-skilled conservation workforces and deliver on this commitment by investing hundreds of thousands of dollars into training annually.”