Deb Nardone, photo provided by ClearWater Conservancy.

ClearWater Conservancy in State College announced that following eight years of leadership, Executive Director Deb Nardone will resign from the organization effective October 25 to step into the role of executive director for the Foundation for Pennsylvania Watersheds.

“The privilege to work alongside the ClearWater community has been the most rewarding and fulfilling work of my entire career,” stated Nardone. “The talented staff, dedicated board, wonderful volunteers, and the landowners who choose conservation are truly assets in this community. I know ClearWater will continue to thrive through new leadership and build on ClearWater’s work to make this region an even more amazing place to live, work, and play. The past eight years have been a truly remarkable and fulfilling experience as I’ve watched our organization grow and flourish to respond to the many environmental, social, and climate-related challenges — and opportunities — in front of our community.”

During her time at ClearWater Conservancy, Deb applied her 30 years of experience in the environmental conservation sector to oversee and manage the success of numerous conservation efforts, grow the team and endowment, and introduce new programs and partners to the organization.

Notably, she led the organization through permanent land conservation initiatives that include the 300-acre Meyer Dairy Farm in State College, 1,271 acres in Warrior’s Mark that is now part of Rothrock State Forest, and various other efforts that collectively total over 3,500 acres of conserved land and approximately 10 miles of restored local streams.

Additionally, Nardone conceptualized and led the development and launch of Centred Outdoors (spelled “Centred” for Centre County), a program to connect more people with the health- and mood-boosting benefits of spending time outside at nearby natural places. Since its launch in 2017, the program has provided over 5,800 free guided adventures to thousands of individuals through hundreds of events.

Deb Nardone showing supporters of ClearWater Conservancy plans for the soon-to-be-remodeled new headquarters grounds and facilities (a renovated farm compound) for ClearWater Conservancy in Houserville along Spring Creek.

During Nardone’s tenure the organization’s staff and support grew significantly, with its team nearly doubling in size and its endowment growing by 500% to support ClearWater’s ongoing conservation and outreach efforts. One of the last accomplishments of Nardone’s tenure is the upcoming public launch of a capital campaign (already halfway funded and “soft launched” to many supporters and community members) to transform a local farm compound in Houserville into a state-of-the art headquarters for the organization complete with outdoor amenities like trails, streamside riparian buffering, open space meadows, and more.

Donnan Stoicovy, photo provided by ClearWater Conservancy.

Donnan Stoicovy has been appointed by ClearWater’s Board of Directors to serve as Interim Executive Director until the organization hires its next executive director. Stoicovy, formerly the principal of Park Forest Elementary and Head of School for State College Friends School, has served on ClearWater’s all-volunteer board for 11 years. In this role she has served or serves on multiple committees and volunteers regularly as a Centred Outdoors ambassador and for additional events throughout the year.

A formal search for the organization’s next director is underway with a goal for the selected candidate to begin in early 2024.

“ClearWater’s programming has flourished, and our community support has grown tremendously during Deb’s time with the organization,” stated Stoicovy. “I am grateful for the opportunity to serve as Interim Executive Director at this time and look forward to working collaboratively with our staff to support and encourage their continued work and to keep us moving in the positive direction we are already heading thanks in large part to Deb’s leadership through the years.”

In her future role as executive director for the Foundation for Pennsylvania Watersheds, Nardone will be responsible for expanding and supporting the organization’s grantmaking, increasing capacity and support for local efforts to protect healthy, natural streams, clean up pollution, and restore degraded wildlife habitat.

Deb Nardone with ClearWater Conservancy co-founder Barbara Fisher.

ClearWater Conservancy is a nationally accredited land trust serving Central Pennsylvania through land conservation, water resources stewardship, and environmental outreach efforts. Since 1980 ClearWater has supported the permanent conservation of 11,000 acres of land and the restoration of over 26 miles of local stream while providing volunteer and educational opportunities for thousands of local community members through events and activities such as Watershed Cleanup Day and Centred Outdoors.