HARRISBURG - Traveling from various parts of Pennsylvania, nearly 180 individuals comprised of conservation district staffs, state officials and legislative partners convened in Altoona to honor conservationists during the PA Association of Conservation Districts Inc. (PACD) and State Conservation Commission's 67th Joint Annual Conference.

The awards luncheon took place July 9 at the Blair County Convention Center. Dave Crowl, chairman of the Northumberland County Conservation District and treasurer of the PACD Board was master of ceremonies.

Dr. Blair T. Carbaugh, of Rush Township, received the Ann Rudd Saxman Conservation District Director Excellence Award. This award is given to a conservation district director or associate director for his or her outstanding volunteer efforts which have furthered the activities and accomplishments of conservation districts on a statewide basis.

A lifetime educator and conservationist, Carbaugh began as a public director on the Northumberland County Conservation District board, and has been active with the district for over 10 years.

After teaching biology at Lock Haven University for more than 20 years, Carbaugh began Hardwoods Resource Center at Lock Haven University, which supports Pennsylvania's hardwood industry.

After his retirement, he organized teacher workshops at the PPL Montour Preserve, enabling special needs children to experience nature. He works actively with the PA Chapter of the American Chestnut Foundation, planting American chestnuts on reclaimed minelands, and helping to breed blight-resistant American chestnut trees on his own property in Northumberland County.

He has been an active member of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania University Biologists, the PA Forest Stewardship Program, the PA Forestry Association, the Northcentral PA Conservancy, the Susquehanna Greenways Partnership, the Woodland Owners Association and the Roaring Creek Watershed Association.

The Northumberland County Conservation District (NCCD) was also recognized by the State Conservation Commission for celebrating 65 years of service and dedication to the conservation of natural resources in Northumberland County. NCCD is one of 66 conservation districts across the state.