John Dawes has provided Pennsylvania with environmental and conservation leadership for more than 25 years. He not only works in conservation, but also practices it on his Huntingdon County Farm.

As Executive Director of the Foundation for Pennsylvania Watersheds since 1994, John has supervised small grants to over 300 environmental and watershed associations throughout the state. The intent is to provide seed money to allow a local group to better access state agency funding.

For five years John was a consultant to the Heinz Endowments Environment Program where he supervised grants to regional watershed groups pursuing a DCNR Rivers Conservation Plan. Other duties included participation in sustainable forestry round tables, and the facilitation of a statewide watershed advocacy group called POWR – the PA Organization for Watersheds and Rivers.

Though he has sat on many boards, John is perhaps most fond of his success in the reauthorization of the Abandoned Mine Lands Fund (AMLF). He was relentless in his fight to secure funding to reclaim Pennsylvania’s 5,200 miles of biologically dead streams and 200,000 plus acres of mine-scarred land. The reauthorization provides $6B nationally and more than $1.4B to Pennsylvania.

Since 1970, John has owned and managed a purebred Angus farm in Huntingdon County where conservation practices have been implemented, including streambank fencing, forest stewardship planning, a 10kw windmill for electric power production, and spring development using photo-voltaic panels. In 2007, John earned a Governors Environmental Award for farming excellence and incorporation of Best Management Practices.

WeConservePA honored R. John Dawes of the Foundation for Pennsylvania Watersheds, with the Lifetime Conservation Leadership Award at an awards dinner in Gettysburg on May 9th.

“Only 12 other individuals have received the award,” WeConservePA executive director, Andy Loza, explains, “and we are happy to honor John’s decades of leadership and dedication in conserving Pennsylvania’s special places and landscapes.”