Banquet honors work in county conservation

PENNSDALE – The area celebrated those who help the local conservation effort at the 53rd annual Lycoming County Conservation District annual awards banquet Tuesday.

“I think it’s important to recognize their commitment to doing the right thing for conservation, in general,” said Mark Davidson, district manager. “They’re managing their property not just for themselves but for the future.”

The Barbour family was recognized as the 2012 Cooperator of the Year for the work it does on its Lycoming Township farm.

Denise Tobin, director, who presented the award, explained that the family participated in the county’s nutrient credit trading program and was one of the first farmers to sell nutrient credits through the Penn Vest credit trading auctions.

The beef farm also hosts a teacher workshop and helps Montoursville Area High School students with senior projects.

Ted Barbour thanked the many people who helped him along the way with the farm after taking it over in 2004.

The night also honored District Judge James Carn and David Thompson, former Sun-Gazette reporter, for their support of conservation.

Joseph Radley, director, called Carn, who participates in many local cleanup efforts, a “loyal and committed person to conservation in Lycoming County.”

Carn explained that his efforts are all in an attempt to make the area a “better place to live.”

“We’ve got a real jewel for a county,” he said.

Thompson was recognized for the reporting he’s done over the years on the conservation’s events and programs. Thompson called covering the group “one of the great joys” of his job.

The program also featured Jonathan Wyatt, wildlife conservation officer for the state Game Commission, who spoke on a variety of wildlife.

Wyatt reported that Lycoming County has one the largest population of bobcats in the state.

“We’ve got them all over the place,” he told the crowd.

He also spoke on fishers, gray and red foxes and coyotes. Wyatt said eastern coyotes are a product of western ones mating with the gray wolf.

Coyotes also are along the entire East Coast.

“Every major city on the eastern seaboard has coyotes,” he said.

Wyatt also expressed his appreciation for those who were honored at the program, saying that he enjoys seeing the work others do for conservation.

“I get to see the heroes, the good guys,” he said on being at the dinner.