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Friday, November 4, 2016

McKean County Conservation District Award Luncheon

Pictured are Kerry Fetter- Conservation District Board Chairman, Carol Duffy- Commissioner, Dave Stratton- USDA Farm Service Agency, Ken Kane- Conservation District Associate Director and Recipient of Conservation Partner Award, Steve Sherk- Conservation District Board, and Don Tanner- Penn State Extension.

The McKean County Conservation District recently held its inaugural Award Luncheon on Nov. 3rd in Bradford. Staff Members, Board Directors, the 2016 Winning ‘Wild’ Envirothon Team, and the recipient of the annual Conservation Partner Award were recognized.

This year, the Conservation District celebrates 10 years as a full time staffed District. Two staff members, District Manager Sandy Thompson and Watershed Conservationist Heather McKean have been on staff since the District office opened. Board Director Kerry Fetter shared the history of the Conservation District in the county with those in attendance.

The Conservation Partner of the Year award, sponsored by the District, Penn State Extension, and the USDA Farm Service Agency, was presented to Ken Kane. Ken is a graduate of the Penn State Forestry School with a BS in Forest Science. He has a career in Forest Management and Forest Products Marketing with a long working tenure with Keith Horn Forestry including serving as Vice-President. Currently he is President of Generations Forestry in Kane.

Ken has had a lifelong concern for conservation issues and a strong land ethic. He is a member of the SAF (Society of American Foresters) and ACF (Association of Consulting Foresters) and had held administrative offices with both organizations. He is very involved in local issues and has served for a very long time on the Kane School Board including being President. He is also an Associate Director of the McKean County Conservation District, a member of the Allegheny Hardwood Utilization Group (AHUG) as well as a member of the Hamlin Bank Board. He has been very involved in forest health research in partnering with Penn State, Allegheny National Forest and the PA DCNR, Bureau of Forestry. Ken has been involved with the Forest 

Stewardship Council of FSC Certified Forests (a rigorous set of standards regarding long term sustainable forest practices). He served on an advisory committee for Penn State Extension in the recruitment of a new Forester for Penn State Extension. Ken continues to work with industry, large landowners and small landowners in emphasizing the importance of forest regeneration and overall forest health. He has also testified before Congress and legislative committees on many forest related issues.

Also recognized was the 2016 ‘Wild’ Envirothon overall winning team- the ‘Bradford Bees Plus Wasp’ advised by Jan Russell. This team went on to represent McKean County at the State Envirothon, placing an impressive 17th out of 65 teams. Team members and their advisor were in attendance at the luncheon.

Other award recipients included ten year staff members Sandy Thompson, District Manager and Heather McKean, Watershed Conservationist; and five year staff members Sherry Dumire and Lindsay Shine, both Resource Conservationists. Six board members received service awards for their years of volunteer work. Kerry Fetter, Board Chairman, has been a Director for 15 years. Cliff Lane and Blaine Puller were recipients of 10 year awards. Chase Miles, Frank Tanner, and Steve Sherk have been Directors for 5 years. All directors and staff received engraved coasters made of local black cherry wood.

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