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Susquehanna Life

Riverkeeper Recognized for Environmental Excellence

Mar 28, 2017 01:49PM ● By Erica Shames

In just one short year, Middle Susquehanna Riverkeeper® Carol Parenzan has made a big splash.

On Tuesday, March 21, the Union County Conservation District awarded Parenzan with its Director’s Award for Environmental Excellence.

“This award,” shares Bill Deitrick, District Manager, Union County Conservation District, “is given to those individuals or organizations that have demonstrated outstanding vision and/or due diligence in local and/or regional environmental endeavors. We feel that, even though Carol has only been in the Middle Susquehanna Riverkeeper role for just a year, she has rapidly brought a keen awareness of this tremendous water resource and its vulnerabilities to the public's attention.”

As the Middle Susquehanna Riverkeeper, Parenzan is 1 of over 300 Waterkeeper® Alliance-licensed voices around the world on 6 continents and in 35 countries speaking up on behalf of the natural resources residing within their water-based territories. The Middle Susquehanna Riverkeeper watershed is defined by the drainage area for the North and West Branches of the Susquehanna River, an approximate 11,000-square mile area in Northcentral Pennsylvania.

“Although a significant amount of time this first year has been devoted to establishing the 501(c)(3)-recognized non-profit organization – Middle Susquehanna Riverkeeper Association, Inc. – to support my work, I have also been deeply involved in several investigations within the watershed,” offers Parenzan. “These have included the gasoline pipeline rupture and reported 55,000-gallon spill into the Loyalsock Creek and the aquifer breach during the construction of the Sunbury Pipeline near the natural gas conversion power plant project in Shamokin Dam, both of which occurred in October.” As a champion of clean water, the Riverkeeper’s work also includes education and advocacy. “Everyone deserves swimmable, drinkable, fishable water,” shares Parenzan.

A native of Pennsylvania with family roots in the coal region, Parenzan holds an environmental engineering degree from Penn State and is the published author of over 30 creative nonfiction books for the school and library market.

“We are pleased to have this ‘voice of the river’ living within our county for what it brings to the table for protecting the Susquehanna River and its tributaries,” states Deitrick. The Conservation District looks forward to a long term and fruitful relationship with our ‘Susquehanna Riverkeeper’ in order to promote and protect our precious water resources in this watershed and beyond.”

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