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Spring Creek Watershed Commission Recognition Program

The Spring Creek Watershed Atlas Workgroup, operating under the auspices of the Spring Creek Watershed Commission, has assembled a list of individuals who have made significant contributions to management and conservation of water resources in the Spring Creek Watershed. Many of the recognized individuals are not water resource professionals, but rather, they are volunteers who have devoted many hours to protecting our treasured resources. Some of the individuals are professionals who have gone well beyond their normal duties to ensure that the watershed is well protected and properly managed. The citizens of the Spring Creek Watershed are indebted to all of these individuals for their tireless efforts to conserve our watershed.



Awarded to Kristen Saacke Blunk In recognition of her 20 years of passionate, creative, and inspirational service in the Spring Creek Watershed through her many roles with ClearWater Conservancy (ClearWater), the Spring Creek Watershed Association, the Spring Creek Watershed Commission (SCWC), Millbrook Marsh Nature Center, Penn State, the Chesapeake Bay, the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation, Spring Creek Chapter of Trout Unlimited (SCCTU), and more. She is pictured here looking over the Commercial Street project with former SCCTU president Bob Vierck. (2022)


Awarded to Joe Boston for his involvement in virtually every project undertaken by SCCTU and volunteering with ClearWater as a site steward. Many bank stabilization projects undertaken over the past 15 years have included partnerships between ClearWater and SCCTU. Joe was intimately involved in the McCoy Dam Removal, the Sheep Farm Projects[s], the “550” bank stabilization and riparian planting project, “The Distillery,” Milesburg, Fisherman’s Paradise, Rock Road, and the McCoy Area Riparian planting (aka the “Boston Commons” project). Joe has served as the project manager, grant author, and chief steward at many of the above sites. (2022)

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DR. ROBERT BROOKS (1952-2021)

Awarded to Rob Brooks for his unwavering commitment to teaching, research, and his service for the protection of Millbrook Marsh Nature Center. Rob taught and mentored countless students during his 38 years at Penn State. As a founding member of the Millbrook Marsh Advisory Committee, he volunteered thousands of hours. Some of Rob’s contributions to Millbrook Marsh include creation of the land management plan, wetland delineations, wetland research, stream vane installations, creation of a model fen, program facilitation, and work on the development of the Master Plan, boardwalk, boardwalk feasibility study, Spring Creek Education Building, and the future Diane Kerly Welcome Pavilion.  (2022) 


Awarded to Bob Carline in honor of his direction and oversight of a 10-year (1989-1999) streambank stabilization project of 25 properties on tributaries and the mainstem of Spring Creek. Improvements included construction of more than 35,000 feet of streambank fencing and installation of stream crossings and streambank stabilization measures. He was integral in the creation of the Water Resources Monitoring Project. He summarized much of his research on the Watershed in a publication supported by the PA Fish and Boat Commission. He now leads the Spring Creek Watershed Atlas Project (Atlas). The Atlas informs the public about the Spring Creek Watershed, its waters, ecosystems, challenges, and how the human population manages the Watershed and exploits it.  (2022) 



Awarded to Bob Donaldson in recognition of his active protection of the water quality of Spring Creek for nearly all of his lifetime. He has been a member of the Board of Directors of both ClearWater and SCCTU, a member of the SCWC, and was instrumental in the creation of the Spring Creek Watershed Association. He established the “Watershed Watch” a program by SCCTU to monitor the water quality for problems and fix them. (2022) 


Awarded to Bob Eberhart in recognition of his love of Spring Creek and his leadership with several watershed and government organizations to teach people about Spring Creek’s value and engage people in its conservation. He served for many years as the Secretary of SCCTU and continued to be active with both organizations and all things Watershed until his passing in 2017. (2022) 

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Awarded to Barbara Fisher. She is a life-long conservation activist and faithful servant of the environment. For over 40 years, Barbara and her husband John have been productive community members and catalysts for positive change in the State College area and the Spring Creek watershed. Barbara is a charter member of ClearWater and has served continuously on the organization’s Board of Directors since ClearWater’s inception in 1980. (2022)  


Awarded to Roger Garthwaite for his conservation fundraising efforts in our Watershed. He sponsored ClearWater’s primary annual fundraiser (Golf Fest), raising over $1.2M for ClearWater. He also served one term on ClearWater’s board of directors. Garthwaite also actively supported fundraising for the SCCTU, donating his Otto Pub and Brewery’s products and time to the Chapter. These fundraising efforts increased their visibility in the community providing the funds necessary to pursue conservation efforts in the Watershed. His time and investment in the protection of Spring Creek show vision and leadership to other business leaders on how to sustain a healthy environment. (2022) 

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TONY GERACE (1949-2005)

Awarded to Tony Gerace for his leadership in the Spring Creek Chapter of Trout Unlimited and ClearWater Conservancy and his dedication to preserve and protect the Spring Creek Watershed led to the improvement to the water quality of the stream. He was instrumental in negotiations with the University Area Joint Authority (UAJA) to limit the effluent discharge into Spring Creek resulting in the Department of Environmental Protection upgrading the stream designation to a high quality cold water fishery. The agreement with UAJA also resulted in the beneficial reuse project. The project will prevent thermal pollution of the stream by sewage effluent. In addition, while serving as President of ClearWater Conservancy, he spearheaded the effort to protect 2,400 acres of the Curtin Estate property which eventually was turned over to the Pennsylvania Game Commission. (2022)


Awarded to Todd Giddings. He exemplifies the professional work of a hydrogeologist with his knowledge of water flow through the soil and rocks in the Spring Creek Watershed. He shares this detailed information at many SCWC meetings. He has provided residents in the community with the knowledge to understand what is occurring in our aquifers and why it is essential for all residents to carefully utilize this valuable resource.  His work with the USGS monitoring stations and the water gauge stations along Spring Creek has helped professional planners and residents understand the vital role water provides in the Watershed. (2022)



Awarded to Dennis Hameister, former long-time chair of the Spring Creek Watershed Commission. He served on the Harris Township Board of Supervisors. While chair of the SCWC, he helped create the Spring Creek Watershed Stormwater Management Plan and Ordinance adopted by each of the 14 municipalities within the Watershed. The Spring Creek Watershed Plan’s Stormwater Ordinance was later used throughout Pennsylvania as a “Model Ordinance.” This effort eventually led to recognizing the importance of municipal cooperation and planning on a watershed basis. Dennis Hameister remained Chair of the Spring Creek Watershed Commission until 2020. Dennis volunteers for both Clearwater and the SSCTU. He is pictured here in his “Get Outdoors Family Picnic T-Shirt. (2022)

DON HAMER (1925-2016)

Awarded to Don Hamer for his passionate dedication to Spring Creek watershed and his generous leadership in conserving it for future generations. As an early President of ClearWater Conservancy, he focused the organization’s work on Spring Creek with the commissioning of the Spring Creek Corridor Study in the 1980s, and later expanding that report to encompass the Spring Creek Watershed.  Don’s career success allowed him to invest in conservation throughout his life and beyond.  He established the Hamer Foundation to continue his conservation philanthropy into the future.  Don is shown here with past Executive Director of ClearWater Conservancy Jennifer Shuey. (2022)

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GEORGE HARVEY (1911-2008)

Awarded to George Harvey, a distinguished conservationist, educator, and flyfishing enthusiast. In 1947 as an instructor at Penn State, he developed the first accredited university-level angling and flyfishing course in the U.S. He taught more than 36,000 students angling, fly casting and fly tying. He was an outspoken advocate for the preservation of Spring Creek. In his honor, the ClearWater Conservancy and the Spring Creek Chapter of Trout Unlimited annually give the George Harvey Memorial Coldwater Heritage Award to individuals who have made significant contributions to the conservation of Spring Creek. (2022)


Awarded to Joe Humphreys in recognition of his life-long commitment to Spring Creek through fishing, teaching, mentoring, and advocacy. Joe was critical in the re-separation of Thompson Run from the Duck Pond in 1977 and was instrumental in fixing of the dike in 2017. Joe is pictured here mentoring at the Veterans Service Program. (2022)

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JIM MCCLURE (1927-2013)

Awarded to Jim McClure, a founding member of ClearWater Conservancy and its first President.  Jim was passionate about local civic engagement, conservation, and environmental advocacy, and he served eight years on State College Borough Council.  Jim was the art editor for the Penn State Department of Agriculture’s publications, and he volunteered his graphic talents to illustrate important and ongoing environmental challenges and issues.  He is best known for his iconic cartoon from 1981 that helped people understand that “we are all in the same bathtub” as a watershed community. (2022)


Awarded to Mark Nale, accomplished birder and award-winning photographer. His articles and photographs appear in publications nationwide. Mark teaches nature photography at Juniata College and is a Pennsylvania Outdoor Writers Association (POWA) member. In 2017, POWA selected one of his photos as the best-published newspaper photo. As a writer and past President of POWA, he advocates for conserving natural resources. He volunteers with the Little Juniata River Association, SCCTU, ClearWater and helps protect the statewide wild fish population. Additionally, Mark participates in efforts to educate the community, especially the youth. (2022)



Awarded to Katie Ombalski who probably wrote more grants and managed more conservation projects for the Spring Creek watershed than any other individual. Starting in 2000, she worked for ClearWater Conservancy for sixteen years, honing her project management and collaboration skills in the water resource, riparian restoration and stewardship, land conservation, and conservation biology arenas.  Katie’s dedication, leadership, and unflinching will made many of ClearWater’s most notable projects in the Spring Creek Watershed possible.  As the principal of Woods and Water Consulting, LLC Katie continues to conserve Pennsylvania’s forest and water resources that provide ecological and social benefits for future generations. (2022)


Awarded to Dr. Richard Parizek, who came to PSU in 1961.  He has taught Geosciences and mentored many students who have advanced the fields of groundwater, geology, and environmental sciences.  In addition to his extensive research and publications, he has an international reputation and project work as a geoscientist.  But most importantly, he continues to be an accessible resource to enhance layperson’s understanding of geologic, water resource, and environmental issues in central Pennsylvania and beyond. (2022)



Awarded to Dan Shields in recognition of his dedication to knowing every detail of Spring Creek’s gift to fly fishing and his ability to share that knowledge in words, pictures, and volunteer time to our community. Dan led several projects, including stream bank improvement at the Neidigh Quarry in 1981 – 1982. (2022)


Awarded to Jennifer Shuey, who served as ClearWater’s Executive Director for 15 years. Through her leadership, she successfully brought numerous and diverse stakeholders together to work together to conserve and restore the natural resources of central Pennsylvania. Jennifer also was instrumental in the early formation of the Spring Creek Watershed Community, which later became the Spring Creek Watershed Association and the SCWC.  Jennifer is an accomplished artist and continues to generously support the protection of Spring Creek, its communities, and cultural resources through her artistry and volunteerism. (2022)



Awarded to Judi Sittler for her contributions to the Spring Creek Watershed starting in 2010 when she was elected President of the Spring Creek Chapter of Trout Unlimited. She served for four years as President and an additional four on the Board of Directors. She also served as President of the Spring Creek Watershed Association for several years. As an advocate for the watershed, she started and expanded many outreach programs including the Women Angler’s Program, youth education program, trout in the classroom, and many programs to educate youth on the importance of the watershed. She initiated the “Get Outdoors Family Picnic”, a community fishing picnic that educates families on the importance of Spring Creek. (2022)


Awarded to Bryan Swistock. He is a co-developer of the Master Well Owners Network (MWON), an organization dedicated to safeguarding groundwater quality in the Spring Creek Watershed and throughout Pennsylvania by recruiting and teaching volunteers to conduct outreach and education about the groundwater resource. For many years he organized the annual Pennsylvania Ground Water Symposium. Bryan was also responsible for continuing Penn State Extension’s Safe Drinking Water Clinic Program. This program has educated more than 10,000 owners of private water supplies across the Commonwealth. (2022)



Awarded to Bob Vierck. He was the SCCTU President from 2014 – 2018 and has served on Board of Directors for more than 10 years. During his leadership, the Chapter received three national awards, including the Gold Trout award as the nation’s most outstanding Chapter in TU. He was named the Pennsylvania conservationist of the year by Trout Unlimited in 2018. He authored stream restoration grants and managed multiple projects for more than 10 years’ worth more than $500,000. He expanded the partnerships amongst conservation and other organizations. (2022)

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