Annual Conservancy Meeting – Thursday, May 5
For the first time since 2019, we will be having our Annual Meeting & Stewardship Award Presentation live and in-person at Keystone College!
Countryside is pleased to honor Len & Gerry Janus with an “Environmental Stewardship Award,” for their lifelong commitment to environmental causes and low-impact living. As Penn State Master Gardeners, they enjoyed leading public nature walks and lectures at area State Parks and Countryside Conservancy preserves. Len & Gerry owned and operated Aurora Natural Foods in Eynon and Hamlin, and Vileniki-An Herb Farm in Montdale.
Upon the passing of Len in 2020, the Janus Estate was subsequently settled with a generous portion bequeathed to Countryside Conservancy. This bequest became the first donation made to the Conservancy’s recently formed Sycamore Society for the purpose of honoring those who wish to support their land preservation efforts with bequests and planned gift options.
Additional details about the Sycamore Society and updates on all of the Conservancy’s recent projects, including the Rowlands Preserve, Olesky Preserve, and Ross Conservation Easement, will be shared at their Annual Meeting & Stewardship Award Ceremony Thursday, May 5th at 7:00pm in Evans Hall, Keystone College.
The event is free and coffee, wine and desserts will be provided. All are encouraged to attend.
Celebrating 28 years in operation, Countryside Conservancy protects and connects greenspace in and near the Tunkhannock Creek Watershed for the public benefit, now and for future generations.
NOW HIRING – Operations Coordinator
Countryside Conservancy is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit land trust dedicated to land conservation in and around the Tunkhannock Creek Watershed of northeastern Pennsylvania. The Conservancy is at the forefront of land use issues in the region and has permanently protected over 1,800 acres from development. The Conservancy owns and manages 14 preserves with 10+ miles of hiking and biking singletrack plus over 5 miles of Trolley Trail. The staff is a close-knit team that works effectively and efficiently with tremendous support and guidance from its Board of Directors. The ideal candidate for the Operations Coordinator position will be outgoing, have an acute attention to detail, be willing to take on new challenges as they arise, and have a passion for the outdoors.
The Operations Coordinator is responsible for the administration, management, and implementation of daily operations of Countryside Conservancy. The Operations Coordinator holds direct responsibility for payroll, bookkeeping, filing, database management, volunteer coordination, donor communications, and events planning. The Operations Coordinator will be specifically focused on fundraising efforts to support the needs of a growing organization, including membership cultivation and fundraising events. The Operations Coordinator will also need to become familiar with the lands and trails of the Conservancy, in addition to the newest land protection projects and efforts.
Reports to: Executive Director
Description of Duties:
- Prepare payroll, monthly taxes, and quarterly taxes using QuickBooks
- Responsible for all accounts receivable and accounts payable, as well as the monthly reconciliation of the Books
- Prepare bank deposits
- Basic office duties such as answering and directing calls, organizing office files, ordering office supplies as needed, and photocopying and scanning office documents
- Assist the Executive Director in the creation of the monthly Board Meeting Packet and attend monthly Board Meeting to record minutes
- Prepare financial records for annual audit and tax filings
- Assist Executive Director with the creation of the yearly budget
- Manage database and run reports on a regular basis
- Staff and preside over Institutional Advancement Committee meetings and activities
- Plan and coordinate major Conservancy fundraising events such as NEPA Gives, Annual Auction, Autumn Appeal and Giving Tuesday
- Help create fundraising brochures, invitations, pamphlets
- Prepare bulk mailings for rolling memberships/appeals/fundraising events
- Coordinate and cultivate major and sustained donor support
- Participate in development training and current fundraising techniques
- Learn about land conservation, stewardship, conservation easements and assist with maintaining associated files
- Assist with Annual Report
- Engage and direct volunteers as needed in coordination with other staff
- Proficiency in QuickBooks, Microsoft Word, Excel, donor management system (Bloomerang), and PowerPoint
- Bachelor’s degree in any field of academic rigor; however, experience in law, business, land conservation, organizational management or non-profit administration preferred.
- Ability to work in a fast-paced, changing environment
- Ability to prioritize and work under tight deadlines
- Demonstrates initiative and is results oriented
- Strong attention to detail
- Highly motivated, self-starting person who takes pride in the quality outcome of their work
- Strong communication skills and ability to foster relationships with volunteers, landowners, business and foundation leaders and government officials
Compensation commensurate with experience and competitive with similar organizations in northeast PA
How to Apply:
Submit cover letter, résumé and required compensation to:
Bill Kern, Executive Director via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Creation of the
“Jeff Fleming Trolley Trail Stewardship Fund”
December 14, 2021 ——We are excited to announce that 2021 saw the establishment of the Jeff Fleming Trolley Trail Stewardship Fund. This charitable fund, managed through the Scranton Area Community Foundation, is designed to primarily provide support for the maintenance of the Trolley Trail system. There are currently over 5 miles of the Trolley Trail, all of which require periodic maintenance and upkeep.
Jeff Fleming, a Trolley Trail Committee member since its beginning, has always spearheaded the maintenance and stewardship of the trail. Weather events, drainage and erosion problems, broken fences and downed trees are just some of the issues that Jeff and several faithful volunteers deal with weekly. The creation of this fund came from close friends and associates of Jeff, who appreciate all of his efforts on behalf of the Trolley Trail.
While the Conservancy has been fortunate to obtain several state and federal grants for the initial construction of the Trolley Trail, ongoing upkeep and repairs generally come from annual fundraising efforts. As the Trail increases in length and positive community impact, those associated maintenance costs are only going to increase as well. If you want to help build a sustainable, long-term source of support for keeping the Trolley Trail in tip-top shape, while at the same time honoring one of the biggest champions of the Trail, please consider making a donation by calling the Conservancy office at (570) 945-6995 or by sending a check with the memo “Fleming Fund” to the Conservancy office at PO Box 55, La Plume, PA 18440. Donations can also be made online through the Scranton Area Community Foundation.
Ribbon-cutting Held for Countryside Conservancy’s
Trolley Trail Phase 3
April 19, 2021 —— Between 2016 and 2018, Countryside Conservancy received grant funding from both the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Commonwealth Financing Authority Greenways, Trails, and Recreation Program and, The Pennsylvania Recreational Trails Program, Federal Highway Administration and the Bureau of Recreation and Conservation. Cabot Oil & Gas Corporation then worked with the Conservancy and coordinated many other partners to provide match for those monies enabling a complex project to take shape and be completed. Lackawanna and Wyoming County Commissioners, as well as Dalton Borough, Factoryville Borough and La Plume Township also lent their support. Through the design consulting services of Tim Wilson of BCM Engineers and Tioga Environmental Consulting LLC, and the construction services of Sugar Hollow Water Services, LLC, and Dan Rutledge of Rutledge Excavating Inc., Countryside is proud to unveil over a half of mile of trail that begins at Cherry Street in Dalton and concludes at W. La Plume Road in La Plume Township. Additionally, Trail -head work at Factoryville along with installation of signage there, was also carried out. The Overlook Estate Foundation provided funding for the custom historical signage at both locations.
From 1908 to 1932, the Northern Electric Street Railway operated trolley service from Scranton through the towns of Chinchilla, Clarks Summit, Glenburn, Dalton, La Plume, Factoryville and the Lithia Valley to the resort community of Lake Winola. The Trolley also operated a line that traveled from Factoryville, through Nicholson and ending just short of Montrose in Susquehanna County. After the trolley line ceased operations and the company filed for bankruptcy, James K. Peck acquired much of the remaining right-of-way segments. Rosamond “Roz” Peck, one of the original founders of Countryside Conservancy, became interested in the idea of converting the former right-of-way into a non-motorized community recreational trail. The Conservancy has now constructed a total of 5.4 miles of Trolley Trail.
Introducing the Rowlands Preserve!
March 23, 2021 —— After nearly 20 years of relationship building and three years of more serious negotiating, Countryside Conservancy finally acquired the 65-acre Rowlands Farm in North Abington Township. Funds from PA Department of Conservation and Recreation and the Willary Foundation, along with a generous bargain sale from the Rowlands Family made this acquisition possible. Considered to be one of the last large parcels of undeveloped land along the eastern half of Lackawanna State Park, the Rowlands Preserve shares a half-mile border with the State Park, two borders with lands protected by agricultural easements, and another border with land protected by a conservation easement held by the Conservancy.
“It was a prime property to be protected and to enhance the footprint of the state park,” Kern said.
The conservancy was awarded nearly $167,000 through a grant from the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources’ Community Conservation Partnerships Programs to acquire 65 acres for passive recreation and connection to other protected lands in North Abington Twp.
Kern said the nonprofit organization also received a cash match of $37,000 from the Scranton family’s Willary Foundation.
“It was huge because I was looking at having to put together possibly three or four different funding sources and they came up big for us,” he said.
In addition, the Rowlands family sold the property to the conservancy as a bargain by taking $130,000 off the total cost of $325,000.
The Rowlands family issued a statement regarding the sale of the property at a discounted price.
“Our family’s history is strongly connected to this beautiful land,” they said in the statement. “Almost a hundred years ago, William and Marion Rowlands came here and carved out a life running a dairy farm and raising their large family. We are pleased to pay tribute to their memory and to see ‘The Rowlands Preserve’ forever protected from any type of development while seeing it shared with others who can appreciate its beauty as we always have.”
DCNR’s Bureau of Recreation and Conservation assists local governments, recreation and conservation organizations with funding for projects related to conservation and parks and recreation, including conservation of open space, river conservation and access, and the planning, acquisition and development of public parks.
Countryside Conservancy plans to build a new trail on the Rowlands Preserve in the coming months.
Bill Kern, executive director of the conservancy, said work on the approximately 1½-mile hiking and biking loop, which will connect with the state park system, should begin later this spring and is expected to be completed by the fall.
The conservancy, established in 1994, has protected nearly 1,500 acres of land and water in Northeast Pennsylvania.
Kern thinks users will enjoy the majestic views from the new section of trail.
“I believe it will be the highest point in the whole park system,” he said. “There is a field on top, so there will be a really beautiful view of the surrounding hillsides.”