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Thursday, December 3, 2015

Penn State Extension Water Team Receives 2015 NALMS Outreach Award


Local Penn State Extension Educator, Jim Clark, (left) received the 2015 Outreach and Education Award from the North American Lake Management Society (NALMS) Award Program Chair, Dick Osgood, at their annual conference in Saratoga Springs, NY, on Thursday, November 19. Clark accepted the award on behalf of the “Penn State Extension Water Resources Team” for their work in pond and lake management education in Pennsylvania.

The extension team conducts a twelve week On-Line Pond Home Study Course each year beginning in April. Three hundred and twenty-two pond owners have participated to date, 227 from Pennsylvania, 51 covering 24 other states, and one international student. The registration site for 2016 is at http://extension.psu.edu/pond-management

They produce and archive monthly water webinars related to water resources. Since 2010, there have been 9 pond and lake management related webinars. A total of 578 pond and lake owners or consultants have attended one of these live webinars and nearly 2,000 have viewed the recorded webinars. Of the 271, from 2013 to 2015, that evaluated the webinars, 96% or 261 stated they learned new information about pond and lake management and 154 or 57% stated they planned on taking action to improve their water resource because they viewed the webinar.

Pond and lake workshops are held across Pennsylvania each year. During 2014, over 450 pond or lake owners attended, representing several thousand acres of ponds and lakes. Ninety-nine percent of attendees learned some new management concept and a 6 month follow up evaluation showed that 72% or 324 had already taken action on nearly 1500 acres of water as a result of attending an extension workshop. In 2015, the Penn State Water Team was trained in identifying harmful algal blooms and an 18 thousand dollar grant was secured for training. Compound microscopes, with cameras, have been placed in several extension offices across the state including McKean County. Pond owners can now submit algae samples to extension water educators for identification.

Finally, the Penn State Extension Water Team was instrumental in working with the Penn State Water Lab to offer a pond and lake water test kit to the public. The team assists in distributing the test kits and assisting pond owners with interpretation of the test results. Kits were made available in 2010, and to date 546 pond and lake water samples have been analyzed. The aggregate data from this analysis is available on line and shared at educational events for educational purposes.

Penn State is an equal opportunity, affirmative action employer, and is committed to providing employment opportunities to all qualified applicants without regard to race, color, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability or protected veteran status.