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DCNR Recognizes Employees Going Above and Beyond to Support Agency Mission

July 24, 2019 12:00 AM
By: DCNR

DCNR Recognizes Employees Going Above and Beyond to Support Agency Mission

Left to right: Deputy Secretary Mike Walsh, Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn, Deputy Secretary Lauren Imgrund, Deputy Secretary John Norbeck

This year, DCNR employees once again have gone above and beyond to further the goals of the agency. They were rewarded by being recognized by their peers and supervisors for efforts, including:

  • Accomplishing critical daily duties
  • Taking the lead in emergency situations
  • Assisting with criminal investigations
  • Coordinating educational programming to better connect the public with nature
  • Launching online tools to support DCNR partners, grantees, and the public

“The annual DCNR employee recognition awards shed light on recent important efforts coming from our agency, and highlight the individuals and teams driving this great work,” said DCNR Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn. “Our employees are enthusiastic, professional, and passionate, and I’m proud to lead such a strong, forward-thinking team.”

More than 50 employees received 15 awards personally by Dunn at the 2019 awards ceremony in the Rachel Carson State Office Building in Harrisburg.

Award categories and honorees were:

Secretary’s Award

The DCNR Secretary’s Award is the highest level of recognition. It is given to employees who accomplish a singular, outstanding achievement that furthers DCNR’s mission and includes exceptional performance.

Honored were:

Miranda Crotsley, Jennings Environmental Education Center 

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Left to right: Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn, Miranda Crotsley, Deputy Secretary John Norbeck

Miranda has taken a significant, statewide leadership role in implementing new science-based, student-driven learning where middle and high-school students are doing on-the-ground research – an age group that state park educators have had difficulty reaching.

In 2018, Jennings Environmental Education Center continued to lead in the development of programs that engage high school and college youth in real world research; projects that benefit park resource management and conservation; and foster career interest in DCNR and other conservation fields.

Miranda’s efforts are serving as a role model for other state park staff in engaging the next generation of environmental stewards.

Lori Yeich, Bureau of Recreation & Conservation

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Left to right: Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn, Lori Yeich, Deputy Secretary Lauren Imgrund

Lori has supported DCNR sustainability initiatives that call for grant programs to encourage and support projects that further sustainable practices -- with an emphasis on natural areas for stormwater management, native plantings, and green construction.

Lori’s efforts to pull together projects that address stormwater reduction through creative park retrofits are truly pioneering.

She has become a master at matching park improvements that benefit being active outdoors with green initiatives that help communities address stormwater runoff, marrying outdoor recreation with environmental protection and water quality improvements.

Conservation of Prairie Ecosystem Team

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Left to right: Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn, Heather Bollinger, Michael DiRinaldo, Wilbur Taylor, Deputy Secretary John Norbeck

This team led a dual undertaking to streamline operations and simultaneously improve habitat for a critically endangered rattlesnake and numerous other species of conservation concern. 

The team took the initiative to undertake an enormous and novel project of developing a biological assessment -- an analysis of actions that may affect listed species or their habitat.

The development of the biological assessment would have been a significant undertaking for any entity, but for the staff, it was a new endeavor. However, Heather, Wil, and Mike compiled the research and drafted the document, coordinated all jurisdictional review, and completed all revisions themselves.

The complications presented by multiple endangered and species of conservation concern added even greater significance to this endeavor. Their efforts are showcasing best practices for resource management.

Medical Care for Crash Victim Team 

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Left to right: Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn, Paul Tubbs, Shane Straub, Deputy Secretary John Norbeck (Not pictured: Jesse Monroe, Joseph Petrencsik)

This team of individuals provided medical care and support for a victim of a car crash during the 2018 Susquehannock Trail Performance Rally event.

Ranger Paul Tubbs, Ranger Joe Petrencsik, State Forest Officer Jesse Monroe, and State Forest Officer Shane Straub worked together during this incident to provide aid and comfort to the female victim who was trapped in the vehicle and sustained major injuries.

The car crashed at a high rate of speed near the spectator area, and as the team treated the victim they also had to control the crowd. The four continued to render first aid and treat the victim for shock for an estimated hour and a half before emergency personnel could arrive on scene.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee

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Front Row, Left to right: Deputy Secretary John Norbeck, Deputy Secretary Lauren Imgrund, Terry Kromel, Kristen Carter, Christine Ticehurst, Emily Hendrickson, Wayne Nguyen, Lori Ross
Back Row, Left to right: Deputy Secretary Mike Walsh, Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn, Peter Spadaro, Daniel Pierce, Michael Piaskowski, Jacob Newton, Su Ann Shupp, Cynthia Thomas (Not pictured: Katherine Woodbury, Amanda Penn)

DCNR’s mission is to conserve and sustain Pennsylvania’s natural resources for present and future generations. DCNR recognizes that our mission is best advanced by contributions from people of diverse backgrounds, and inclusion of all women, men, beliefs, and cultures. To that end, DCNR established diversity, equity, and inclusion as a top agency priority.

This committee guides the agency’s diversity work and makes recommendations to the senior leadership team for implementation. Committee members have conducted extensive research of best practices, interviews with organizations and leaders across the state, and analyzed our current programs that cater to or attract a diverse audience.

The team used their creativity, skills, and agency knowledge to develop a workplan and programs that challenge staff to think in new ways to serve our visitors and clients.

Presque Isle State Park Maintenance Team

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Front Row, Left to right: Scott Richardson, Zackery Skitka
Back Row, Left to right: Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn, Roger Donn, Jason Heasley, Richard Zemanek, Robert Burchill, Deputy Secretary John Norbeck (Not pictured: Matthew T. Renner, Matthew R. Renner, Edward Einloth, Tyoler Phillips, Robert Shea, Gary Dahn, Nathan McClintock, Terry Dennis, Steven Cook, Casey Schultz, Randall Buszek)

Presque Isle State Park maintenance staff ensured the functionality, beauty, and sustainability of the park and its resources despite numerous staffing, weather, and project volume limitations.

Due to the extreme weather conditions, prior to opening Presque Isle State Park for the 2018 summer season, maintenance was highly challenged to not only complete these projects for an estimated 4,000,000 visitors; but did so in a safe and timely manner.

The enhancements to Presque Isle State Park reflect the maintenance staff’s dedication to improving visitor conditions, safety, and restoring and preserving resources.

DCNR Award for Outstanding Public Service

The DCNR Outstanding Public Service Award recognizes outstanding public service. These employees show initiative and the ability to overcome unusual problems and added responsibilities, while maintaining a level of performance excellence.

Honored were:

Stacy Duffield, Bureau of Forestry, DCNR Ranger Supervisor

(Not pictured)

Stacy Duffield has been dutifully and expertly giving certification and update instruction in First Aid, CPR, Search and Rescue, and Wilderness First Aid for more than a decade.

She has done scores of programs statewide; and is almost single-handedly responsible for the certification of hundreds of DCNR employees.

Stacy developed her instructional skills on her own, and the impetus for teaching and certifying first aid students was hers as well.

Stacy also understands that DCNR employees are often the first responders to incidents involving forest users who may be recreating in remote locations, far from standard medical help.

Thaddeus (Ted) Ligenza, Sproul State Forest 

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Left to right: Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn, Thaddeus Ligenza, Deputy Secretary John Norbeck

Ted has been a teacher/instructor for new forester training conducted by DCNR’s Bureau of Forestry for new hires. Ted has been involved in three such trainings since 2012. His 30+ years of experience in timber sale administration is something that cannot be easily absorbed in a college classroom.

Ted was also instrumental in starting an annual volunteer tree planting with the local Bucktail Area high school. 2018 marked their 20th year of planting.

Ted also is the Sproul State Forest’s hiking trail coordinator. The largest event that he leads is the Hyner View Challenge. The challenge has been in place for 14 years, and average participation is roughly 1,300 participants. Runners have come from 28 states and 3 different countries.

All of the projects mentioned are in addition to his regular duties of timber management, safety coordinator, seed collector, and district history coordinator.

Greg Patterson, Moraine State Park Complex 

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Left to right: Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn, Gregory Patterson, Deputy Secretary John Norbeck

As Park Maintenance Supervisor 2 at the Moraine State Park Complex, Greg Patterson has taken on a remarkable workload and responsibility during the past several years, including in 2018, while building efficiencies and improvements among the workforce and facilities.

In addition to covering multiple positions when needed, Greg has been instrumental in establishing practices that have gained efficiencies at the park. His ability to plan and organize are extremely impressive.

There is a near constant juggling of prioritizations, and Greg accomplishes the work consistently and correctly, with a calm positive attitude and a determined spirit.

Daniel Pierce, Bureau of Recreation and Conservation 

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Left to right: Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn, Daniel Pierce, Deputy Secretary John Norbeck

As a Recreation and Conservation Advisor, Dan engages with partners and successfully manages the federal Highlands Conservation Act funding program -- providing federal funding for land preservation in a defined area within each of the four Highlands states (Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut). Dan volunteered and has been effectively managing the federal Highlands Conservation Act (HCA) on behalf of DCNR and the commonwealth for the past several years.

This duty significantly advances the work of DCNR -- adding valuable protected land to state forests and parks often at little or no cost to the DCNR.

This work is different from Dan’s regular job duties, in that, Dan must annually complete an application to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service so that Pennsylvania can receive the federal HCA funding.

Benjamin (Troy) Stimaker, Susquehannock State Forest

(Not pictured)

Troy is a Timber Management Forester for Susquehannock State Forest. In 2018, he substantially increased his efforts to find new cooperators to implement several wildlife habitat management projects, and he successfully applied for and received grants and funding totaling more than $40,000.

This was five times the amount of funding that previously was received into the forest’s wildlife management program.

The additional funding will go towards buying equipment, fencing, lime, fertilizer, seed, vegetation treatments, trees, and shrubs for various wildlife habitat areas.

His commitment to seek out new cooperators and to build relationships with these groups will lead to a greatly increased wildlife management program for the Susquehannock State Forest for many years to come.

“Forest Fridays” Team

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Front Row, Left to right: Gregory Podniesinski, Jason Ryndock, Rebecca Bowen
Back Row, Left to right: Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn, Ryan Reed, James Hyland, Deputy Secretary John Norbeck

“Forest Fridays” are short vignettes about forests and natural resource topics that are sent out to DCNR’s Bureau of Forestry staff, as well as many others in DCNR, and are also shared with multiple universities.

They are shared widely on social media and reach close to 20,000 people each week. This team does a great job of planning, soliciting, writing, and editing the Forest Fridays. They engage partners, such as universities where DCNR participates in recruitment events, and others such as the Pennsylvania Parks and Forests Foundation.

This group often goes above and beyond by doing research, writing, and editing on their own time. They all have busy regular roles within the Bureau of Forestry, but they continually turn out high-quality work for this extra effort that serves to educate and inform thousands each week.

DCNR Award for Leadership Excellence

The criteria for the DCNR Leadership Excellence Award include those who consistently demonstrate outstanding leadership qualities and exemplify excellence in problem solving and goal attainment. These employees serve as role models, have positive and influential impacts, and foster cooperation and collaboration in our workplace.

Honored were:

Shawn Beeler, Bureau of Facility Design And Construction 

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Left to right: Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn, Shawn Beeler, Deputy Secretary John Norbeck

Shawn is an effective and highly motivated manager. He divides up the workload evenly between his team members; he is able to provide projects directions and technical advice when asked.

Shawn is the go-to person when someone has questions about environmental engineering issues.

Without Shawn’s experienced oversight, while new employees are brought up to speed, many innocent errors would slip by and result in costly change orders or inefficient operation.

His dedication and willingness to put in the extra effort kept many projects on track. Shawn serves as a role model and willingly makes himself available to train new employees and help others.

Michael Mumau, Laurel Hill State Park Complex

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Left to right: Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn, Michael Mumau, Deputy Secretary John Norbeck

Mike’s leadership abilities have proven time and again to be the standard that is to be set by state park managers. 

Through his ability to network and collaborate, a few critical acquisitions have been obtained near the Laurel Hill State Park Complex -- Scenic View and Countryman Farm.

These acquisitions have not only conserved our natural resources and provided key recreational opportunities for future generations; but would not have been possible without his foresight.

Most recently, Mike is the first park manager to be the Lead for a Conservation Landscape team. Moreover, the Laurel Highlands has been selected as the implementation of the Ranger Efficiencies Pilot Program.

Much of this was due in part to the consistent leadership and respect afforded to Mike Mumau and his close working relationship with Forbes State Forest. As Mike continues to further the local community and park, he is constantly looking to find ways to positively involve the local community and its business.

Nathan Reagle, Bureau of Forestry 

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Left to right: Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn, Nathan Reagle, Deputy Secretary John Norbeck

Nate Reagle displays outstanding leadership qualities and exemplified excellence in problem-solving and goal attainment. Nate provides direction and leadership in special projects with minimal impact on day-to-day operations and with significant benefit to DCNR.

Nate develops guidance and projects to benefit aquatic resources such as wood duck, waterfowl, or hellbender habitat, to mitigate hemlock loss in riparian areas and improving habitat for trout in streams, and to bring safe aquatic organism passage to the forefront of the Bureau of Forestry’s management of culverts and bridges.

Nate’s effectiveness in placing an emphasis on aquatic resources and habitats, and his contributions in moving DCNR towards its water goals is notable. His ability to work collaboratively across sections, divisions, forest districts, bureaus, departments, and even agencies is commendable.

This cross-collaboration has ensured that the work done by the DCNR is not only quality, but readily accepted and understood by other agencies and partners.

Longevity Award

DCNR Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn   

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DCNR Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn has worked to conserve our natural resources in state government service for 15 years.At DCNR, she has helped position Pennsylvania as a leader in land conservation, outdoor recreation, green practices, and public land management.

During her tenure, the department has created the Pennsylvania Outdoor Corps to connect youth and young adults with job opportunities relating to the outdoors and the environment.

Under her direction, Pennsylvania continues efforts to address the impacts of climate change, as well as providing leadership on planting forest buffers along streams to improve water quality.


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