Thursday, November 12

9:00AM – 11:15AM | Plenary

Keynote, Matt Miller, Director of Science Communications for TNC, and author of Fishing Through the Apocalypse

Panel, The Past Present and Future of Land Conservation in Pennsylvania

11:30AM – 12:30PM | Morning

Board Member Training/Orientation (60 min, 11:30AM-12:30PM)

New to your role as a board member? Looking for a refresher on how you can be an effective member of your land trust’s board? This session will cover the roles and responsibilities of a board member and the changing nature of boards as organizations grow and develop. There will also be an opportunity for you to connect with other board members from around the state and get your questions answered.
Carol Hamilton, Principal | Grace Social Sector Consulting, LLC

Understanding YOUR Rights When the Utilities Come Knocking (60 min, 11:30AM-12:30PM)

Pennsylvania is crisscrossed with utility easements, and Western PA has the added attraction of both Marcellus and Utica shale. There are always new pipelines and utility corridors being conceived, and sooner or later, conserved land will be targeted (since it’s easier than dealing with developed land!) Are you prepared to deal with those pressures, and do you know how to negotiate to the best advantage of your organization? Are you backed into a defensive corner, or can you turn a potential negative into a winning partnership? Let’s find out together!
Wesley T. Long, Esq. | Long & Long LLC
Shelly Tichy, President | Westmoreland Conservancy

Affinity Groups 101 – A Way Forward for Incorporating EDI into Your Organization (60 min, 11:30AM – 12:30PM)

Tykee James will share the stories that outlined his path to conservation, from his birding beginnings in Philadelphia to his present role with the National Audubon Society. He believes inspiration and fun are core operational values that enable creativity. He will also discuss his vision of birders sharing an active role in advancing equity and inclusion in the conservation movement. During the course of this 60-minute session, participants will learn about affinity groups and similar internal organizational structures that can advance the integration of EDI work in your organization.
Tykee James, Government Affairs Coordinator | National Audubon

A New Type of Carbon Credit for Urbanized Land Trusts (60 min, 11:30AM-12:30PM)

In this session we will cover a new type of Forest Carbon Credit that land trusts in highly urbanized areas may consider. We will cover the certification process, reporting requirements and Allegheny Land Trust’s experience participating in the program. Additionally, we will cover aspects of the voluntary carbon market in our region and the relation of this to other Forest Carbon Programs.
Alyson Fearon, Community Conservation Director | Western Pennsylvania Conservancy

1:00 – 2:30 | Afternoon I

A Data-Driven Approach to Pittsburgh Regional Flooding (30 min, 1:00-1:30PM)

The problems of urban flooding in the Pittsburgh region are two-fold: 1.) a lack of useful data around the issue and 2.) a need for better regional coordination and planning. A significant limitation in analyzing flood losses is that communities are only eligible for some programs when a federal disaster declaration has been made by the president, a method that favors larger, more costly events. Thus, smaller chronic flood events or flooding in less affluent neighborhoods may not be captured. This presentation will demonstrate a novel approach to using Twitter data for extracting incidence reports and mapping flooding locations in Allegheny County. We will then use the Saw Mill Run Valley as a case study to demonstrate how to use this data to understand flooding hotspots and associated rainfall patterns for future flood mitigation and planning purposes. Decades of studies on Saw Mill Run, and most recently an Integrated Watershed Management Plan, have spotlighted the need to address the many negative impacts of stormwater runoff, including flooding, on the surrounding neighborhoods and communities. Using this innovative methodology to capture more nuanced and finer grained data will help to shape a comprehensive regional strategy for creating a more equitable, collaborative, and cohesive approach to successful flood mitigation.
Lisa Brown, Executive Director | Watersheds of South Pittsburgh
Tom Batroney | AKRF

Board Engagement (60 min, 1:00-2:00PM)

This session will provide tips and strategies for increasing engagement of your board. You will gain an understanding of the engagement cycle and key steps to take in each to take your organization’s board to the next level. Bring your challenges as well as your successes to share with your peers in this interactive session.
Carol Hamilton, Principal | Grace Social Sector Consulting, LLC

The Nuts and Bolts of Land Conservation (90 min, 1:00-2:30PM)

This session will cover the basic steps and components of completing land conservation projects, including conservation easements and fee acquisitions. Using case studies of completed projects, this presentation will provide an overview of due diligence steps, funding strategies, evaluating project feasibility, and relevant Land Trust Standards and Practices.
Michael Knoop, Director of Special Projects | Western Pennsylvania Conservancy
Roy Kraynyk, VP of Land Protection | Allegheny Land Trust

Fundraising in the Age of COVID (90 min, 1:00-2:30PM)

It’s a new world, and we need to rapidly adapt our approach to fundraising. In this virtual workshop, we’ll discuss the rapidly changing approaches which land trusts are taking to effectively maintain and develop relationships with funders in the age of COVID-19, with a focus on events, donor stewardship, and planned giving. Fundraising expert David Allen, Development for Conservation, will share his thoughts and approaches to the challenge, as well as examples of how land trusts around the country are responding. We will also be using breakout group sessions to facilitate shared learning.
David Allen, Principal | Development for Conservation

2:15 – 3:15 | Afternoon II

The Social Value of Bird Conservation on Private Forest Lands (30 min, 2:15-2:45PM)

Forest management can enhance ecosystem services and protect species diversity by enhancing habitat for wildlife. The number of birds in the United States and Canada has fallen by 29% since 1970 because of growing environmental pressures. Since most (70%) forests in Pennsylvania are privately owned, managing forests requires public and landowner participation and a better understanding of agency leaders. The social value of bird conservation was explored using a statewide web survey that collected panel responses from 690 randomly selected persons in Pennsylvania. The survey contained Likert scales and a choice experiment with 8 programs. Data were analyzed using mixed logistic regression and descriptive statistics. Findings indicate a wide variation in people’s knowledge and positive attitudes towards birds. Early analysis suggests that habitat improvement programs generate a positive WTP indicating that public investment in bird conservation on private lands is a legitimate strategy for enhancing public welfare.
Sadikshya Sharma | Pennsylvania State University

Adaptive Leadership (60 min, 2:15-3:15PM)

The challenges of today make “adaptive leadership” critical to the success of organizations. This session will give you a conceptual overview of adaptive leadership, help you asses your capacity and your organization’s capacity for adaptive leadership, and give you a basic framework for implementing meaningful change during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Peter Lane, Consultant | Institute for Conservation Leadership

3:00PM – 4:30 | Afternoon III

Working Through Complications in Land Deals (90 min, 3:00-4:30)

Join Michael Knoop, Director of Special Projects for Land Conservation, Community Engagement, and Strategic Planning at Western Pennsylvania Conservancy for a moderated roundtable discussion on some of the hypothetical complications that can arise when working through land deals. Patricia Pregmon, Esq and Lauren Pregmon Tetreault, Esq of Pregmon law offices will join us as experts on real estate law and liability issues, while Paul Rogers, Sara Giordano, PhD and Jennifer Swogger of the Insite Group will speak to environmental issues. Come ready with your questions for the experts!
Michael Knoop, Director of Special Projects | Western Pennsylvania Conservancy
Patricia Pregmon, Esq., Principal | Pregmon Law Office
Lauren Pregmon-Tetreault, Esq., Partner | Pregmon Law Office
Paul Rogers, President | Insite Group
Sara Giordano, Vice President | Insite Group
Jennifer Swogger, Environmental Scientist | Insite Group

Make the Most of Mass Media (90 min, 3:00-4:30)

The news industry is changing fast, but it still shapes Americans’ opinions about their water and the professionals who are responsible for it. In this training, you will explore both old-school public relations and high-tech digital techniques for working with journalists to get the stories you want and shape how they turn out.
Eric Eckl, Founder | Water Words that Work

Transforming a Conifer Monoculture to a Mixed-Species Forest (30 min, 3:30-4:00PM)

Bear Run Nature Reserve, Fayette County, contains approximately 99 acres of planted conifer stands comprised of native eastern white pine, non-native Norway spruce, and non-native pines. Management goals for the reserve include converting these stands to native mixed-deciduous forest, conserving late-successional and mature forest, and controlling exotic invasive species. After considering various options for implementation, a process for gradual conversion was selected. In early 2019, small gaps were created within the conifer stands through a combination of cutting/dropping and girdling. During this session, our methodology and initial results will be presented.
Andrew Zadnik, Stewardship Manager | Western Pennsylvania Conservancy

Collaborative Leadership (60 min, 3:30-4:30PM)

To scale up and increase impact, land trusts are collaborating with other land trusts and community organizations at a greater level than ever before. No longer just a nice thing to do, collaboration and partnering are critical strategies for creating lasting change. But collaboration is often difficult and takes time. In this participatory session, you will learn about the Institute for Conservation Leadership’s key collaboration concepts to help you assess and strengthen your collaboration. We will also cover six important roles that leaders who are responsible for managing, coordinating, or leading a collaboration play. Material presented will be based on ICL’s “The Invisible Leader”
Peter Lane, Consultant | Institute for Conservation Leadership

Friday, November 13

9:30AM – 10:00AM | Plenary

Welcome, Cindy Adams Dunn, DCNR Secretary

10:15AM – Noon | Sessions

Conewago Creek Restoration: An Inter-County Pollution Reduction Plan (30 min, 10:15-10:45AM)

The Conewago Creek Restoration will serve as a Pollution Reduction Plan (PRP) for two MS4 communities, across county lines. Londonderry and Mount Joy Townships have formed a partnership resulting in a project more impactful than either community could have managed to do on their own. The joint project will utilize economies of scale when applying for funding and working with contractors, to allow us to restore both sides of the creek. Currently, the Conewago Creek is an impaired waterway, due to the agricultural impact, aggressive erosion and large amounts of legacy sediment that impact the capacity of the stream. This project will result in improved water quality, decreased flood potential, improved wildlife habitat and more passive recreational opportunities. Please join us to learn more about our restoration of nearly a mile on the Conewago Creek, and the future of watershed-based stream restoration and inter-community collaboration opportunities!
Monique Dykman, MS4 Environmental Specialist | Londonderry Township
Shawn Fabian, Project Manager | HRG

Expanding Close-to-Home Outdoor Recreational Access Using GIS (30 min, 10:15-10:45AM)

Who in Pennsylvania has access to outdoor recreation within 10 minutes of their home? More importantly, who doesn’t? DCNR, the Pennsylvania Land Trust Association, and the Trust for Public Land partnered to answer these questions. We created 10-minute service areas for Pennsylvania’s parks, trails, public lands, and water access points. Then we overlaid them with US Census data. The result? Detailed snapshots of outdoor recreation access at the county and municipal level. The results of this work are now available in web and mobile-friendly formats. Planners, land trust staff, and recreation professionals can use this information to help site new recreation to increase equitable access in their communities. In this session, you will learn how the data was created, where it can be accessed, and ways to put it to use when planning new parks, trails, and water access. Live web map demonstrations will showcase how you can apply the data, even if you have no experience with GIS.
Josh VanBrakle, Recreation and Conservation Advisor 2 | PA DCNR

Getting Your Board on Board, Why Diversity Matters (60 min, 10:15-11:15AM)

Todd Pride, |

Sustainable Trails Project & Connect Greenspace (90 min, 10:15-11:45AM)

This session presents the benefits and challenges of developing sustainable trail systems on conserved land. Trail development and maintenance can be daunting, but every hour of staff time is multiplied through the fruits of volunteerism and partnerships. Trails are intrinsic to protecting land and connecting people to the land. From partnerships to public engagement, from funding to stewardship, trails serve as both conduit and interface for nature immersion. Just as wildlife needs both core refuges and connective corridors, people need trails to enjoy nature and to serve as land stewards. Trails are recreational assets, but they are equally valuable for monitoring and restoration of terrestrial, riparian and aquatic habitats. Hollow Oak will present examples where greenway planning has prompted conservation projects, partnerships, funding, and organizational growth. Participants will learn how to incorporate greenways and sustainable trail design into existing conservation programs.
Sean Brady, Executive Director | Hollow Oak Land Trust

Introduction to Conservation Easements (90 min, 10:15 – 11:45AM)

What is a conservation easement? Few people–whether or not they work in conservation–understand this tool. You will come out of this session as one of those few. You will know the its strengths and weaknesses and what it can and can’t do. You will appreciate what obligations landowner and land trust will face and complications that may arise. You will understand factors that may point to using a different conservation tool. You will be walked through the questions and issues that must be resolved in applying a conservation easement to achieve particular conservation objectives for a specific property. The Model Grant of Conservation Easement and Declaration of Covenants will serve as a guide during the session.
Andrew M. Loza, Executive Director | WeConservePA

Facilitating Great Meetings (60 min, 11:00-Noon)

Good meetings are a vehicle for moving your work forward – they help you make plans and decisions, share information, think together about tough issues, explore and resolve tensions, and build relationships and trust. If you are responsible for organizing and leading meetings, you know the challenge of juggling the different needs, agenda items, and personalities. This hands-on session will strengthen your skills to plan and facilitate meetings, especially virtual meetings, so they make better use of time, are more joyful, and lead to greater impact.
Carol Hamilton, Principal | Grace Social Sector Consulting, LLC

Nature Explorers Backpack: Collaboration for Family Engagement (60 min, 11:00-Noon)

This session will explore the collaboration between The Allegheny County Library Association, Allegheny County Parks, Allegheny Land Trust and Western Pennsylvania Conservancy that led to the creation of the Nature Explorers Backpack Program. Piloted in summer 2019, this program supplied over 30 county libraries with backpacks equipped with materials and supplies to support families’ exploration of nature in their communities. A Story Map highlighting nature in Allegheny County invites families to continue that exploration at ALT and WPC properties as well as Allegheny County Parks. This workshop will include discussion of the continued collaboration under COVID-19.
Danielle Forchette, Education Coordinator | Western Pennsylvania Conservancy
Elise Cupps, Education and Outreach Coordinator | Allegheny County Parks
Carrie Lane, Youth Services Coordinator | Allegheny County Library Association
Julie Travaglini, Education Program Director | Allegheny Land Trust