WOLF'S CROSSROADS - Northumberland County Conservation District (NCCD) praised environmentally-friendly individuals and organizations for their excellence in conservation work in Northumberland County at an awards picnic Thursday evening at the Kenneth L. Bingaman Memorial Picnic Pavilion.

NCCD staff and board of directors also celebrated the 65th anniversary of the District, which received their certificate of organization from the Commonwealth March 9, 1943.

Conservation Farmer of the Year

The farmer of the year award honors farmers who implement conservation practices on their farm.

The award was presented to Will Haupt and his father, James, who run Haupt's Produce, a 160-acre operation in Irish Valley.

According to NCCD staff, the Haupts demonstrate eco-friendly practices, including erosion control, non-use of manure and allowing riparian buffers, or interfaces between land and a body of water, to grow.

Don Cotner Sr. Memorial Scholarship

This scholarship is given to a recent high school senior who will be pursuing a degree in agriculture or an environmentally related field in the fall semester. Don Cotner Jr. sponsors the scholarship in memory of his father, who was a director for NCCD from 1960-79.

Adam Leister, a 2014 graduate of Shikellamy High School, was the recipient of the award. Leister, a son of Steve and Melanie Leister, of Northumberland, will be pursuing a degree in the environmental sciences, including geosciences, at Mansfield University.

Swank Award

The Swank Outstanding Conservation Organization Award is sponsored annually by David and Judy Swank in honor of their granddaughter, Shelby Palmer. It is presented to an outstanding conservation organization that has done exceptional conservation work in the Northumberland County.

The award was given to Northcentral Pa. Conservancy (NPC), based in Williamsport. NPC is a land trust devoted to conserving land and water in northcentral part of the start for future generations. The conservancy holds properties in 12 counties, including Northumberland County.

According to NCCD, the organization holds 43 conservation easements and one facade easement on 4,735 acres with another 6,300 acres granted through ownership.

Shaffer Scholarship

The Raymond D. and Mable E. Shaffer Scholarship is provided by Sandra Shaffer-Mattern, Dornsife, to a recent Line Mountain High School senior who will be attending college in the fall. The scholarship was started in 1996 in memory of Raymond and Mable Shaffer, who were among the founders of the NCCD.

This year's award went to Courtlyn Trautman, a daughter of Jim and Lisa Trautman, of Herndon. She will be attending Lock Haven University as a health science major and plans to apply for a physician's assistant program after graduation.

Conservation Patch

Also praised was Boy Scout Joshua Marzak, a member of Troop 331, Sunbury, who earned a conservation district patch.

To earn the patch, Marzak earned the weather, environmental science and geology badges and also participated in several litter cleanups with his troop.


Judy Becker, NCCD district manager; and Dave Crowl, chairman, applauded the organization's efforts during it's 71 years of existence. Crowl said the NCCD, originally called the Northumberland Soil Conservation District, was formed to make services available to farmers in county.

The focal point of the District during its inception was the Stone Valley Watershed, a 2,000-acre tract of land near Dalmatia. The watershed eventually became nationally famous as an example of a successful conservation farming, he said.

"Our District is preserving water sources with good farming practices," Crowl said. "We're still doing it after 65 years and that's a lot to celebrate."