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Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission Presents Awards

Numerous Awards Presented at Commission Meeting

HARRISBURG, Pa. – The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) opened its 100th quarterly business meeting recently with several awards presented to staff and partners.

Lifesaving Award Presented to WCOs Scott Christman and Aaron Lupacchini

Waterways Conservation Officers (WCOs) are often called upon to help anglers and boaters in times of need. On July 30, 2011, WCO Scott J. Christman and WCO Aaron Lupacchini responded to a call for help on Mauch Chunk Lake, Carbon County. An elderly man had capsized his boat and was under the vessel. Both officers responded to the scene, where they removed the man from the water. The man was not breathing and had no heartbeat. The two officers began CPR and established a pulse. The individual was taken by Life Flight to Lehigh Valley Hospital but, unfortunately, did not survive.

In recognition for their efforts to save lives under extraordinary circumstances, officers Christman and Lupacchini were presented with Lifesaving Awards by PFBC Executive Director John Arway and Director of Law Enforcement Tom Kamerzel.

2011 Sport Fish Restoration Outstanding Project Award from the American Fisheries Society

PFBC staff Jackie Kramer and Scott Bollinger accepted a 2011 Sport Fish Restoration Outstanding Project Award from the American Fisheries Society for the Commission’s Nesbit Park access area project in Wilkes-Barre, Lackawanna County. The project included the widening of the boat launch; construction of a paved parking area and access road; construction of an overflow parking area; installation of erosion and sedimentation controls; and the installation of signs and kiosks. The annual Sport Fish Restoration Outstanding Project awards highlight the importance and effectiveness of the Sport Fish Restoration program and recognize excellence in fisheries management, research, and education.

PA-American Water Company Recognition and PFBC Outstanding Service Award

Anglers in northeast Pennsylvania will have more places to enjoy their sport this year thanks to Pennsylvania American Water’s commitment to open five water reservoirs in Lackawanna County to public fishing. The water company and PFBC announced in October the opening of the reservoirs, which include: Curtis (Madison Township); Dunmore #1 (Dunmore Township); Elmhurst (Roaring Brook Township); Griffin (South Abington and Scott townships); and Maple Lake (Spring Brook Township.) The company also allows fishing at two other area reservoirs – Comfort Pond in Susquehanna County and Ceasetown Reservoir in Jackson and Lehman townships in Luzerne County.

PFBC Executive Director John Arway presented Waterways Conservation Officer Walter Buckman with an Outstanding Service Award for his efforts in working with the water company to open the reservoirs.

In recognition of the company’s contribution, Mr. Arway presented a framed print of a brook trout – the Commonwealth’s official state fish – to Dan Hufton, senior director, production, Pennsylvania American Water.

“We are truly honored to receive this recognition and want to thank the Fish and Boat Commission for partnering with us on a project that benefits everyone," Hufton said. "Pennsylvania American Water is very fortunate to benefit from so many natural resources and continue to have great success working with Fish and Boat Commission to share our natural resources with the public."

Bailey’s Grove Property Award

The Central Pennsylvania Conservancy and a Dauphin County landowner were honored by the Commission for their work in providing additional public access to the popular Clarks Creek. The property owner, Flemish Down LLC, donated half of the value of the property – known as Bailey’s Grove – to facilitate the sale of the property to the conservancy, which obtained the balance of the purchase price from a Community Conservation Partnership Program grant through the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. The property was then donated to the PFBC. Debbie Bowman accepted the award on behalf of the conservancy and Michael Blum and Josh First accepted the award on behalf of the property owner.

Pennsylvania Boating Educator of the Year Award

The key to the PFBC’s boating safety education programs are volunteer instructors who teach the Basic Boating and Boating & Water Safety Awareness courses approved by the National Association of Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA). Many volunteer instructors have been involved with the PFBC’s boating education programs for several years, like Bobby Michener. The president of Peter’s Marina Service in Allentown is a life-long boater and brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to safety courses. In recognition of his volunteer efforts, Mr. Michener has been named NASBLA’s 2011 Boating Educator of the Year in Pennsylvania.

“Bobby exemplifies a true passion for boating safety in both his teaching and involvement in organizations and committees that utilize his expertise, knowledge, and skills,” said PFBC Executive Director John Arway. “It is through the efforts of volunteer instructors like Bobby Michener, that the citizens with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania are more prepared and safer while out on the water.”

The annual award is designed to recognize those in the boating education field who go above and beyond to engage students and boaters, raise awareness, and make boating education and education initiatives relevant, thorough and exciting.

PFBC Receives 2011 Community Conservation Commendation Award

Clearwater Conservancy of Central Pennsylvania presented its 2011 Community Conservation Commendation Award to the PFBC in recognition of the Commission’s partnership with ClearWater and other local conservation organizations to remove two dams in Centre County – Dayton Dam on Sixmile Run and the McCoy-Linn Dam on Spring Creek – and restore the streams and riparian buffers for the benefit of the local community. The award further recognized the PFBC for educating the public about vernal pools, managing invasive species, and providing technical support on other projects. Scott Carney, chief of the Division of Habitat Management, accepted the award on behalf of the Commission.

IT Employee Receives 2011 Outstanding Leadership & Innovation Award

A member of the PFBC’s Bureau of Information Technology has received a 2011 Outstanding Leadership and Innovation (“Ollie”) Award from the Office of Administration (OA) for his work in information systems management. Chuck Druery received the award in December at the annual Pennsylvania Executive Leadership Forum, held by OA’s Office of Information Technology. Druery is network chief and manager for the Infrastructure, Security and Operations Section. He has led the charge in bringing the PFBC up to a new standard of technology, while at the same time supporting headquarters and 22 field offices.

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