BEACH LAKE—The Upper Delaware Council (UDC) will host its 31st Annual Awards Ceremony on Sunday, April 28, honoring many local conservationists for their efforts having “enhanced the quality of life or protected the resources of the Upper Delaware River Valley,” as noted in an event release.
The ceremony will take place at the Central House Family Resort in Beach Lake.
The evening will start with a cash bar reception at 3 p.m., a buffet dinner at 4 p.m. and the awards ceremony around 5 p.m. after a keynote speech delivered by Congressman Matthew Cartwright (PA-8).
The event is open to the public. Tickets cost $28 and those wishing to attend are asked to reserve a seat by April 19.
Reservation forms are available online at www.uupperdelawarecouncil.org.
Those interested can also contact the UDC by phone (845-252-3022), email (email@example.com), or visiting P.O. Box 192, 211 Brdige Street, Narrowsburgh, New York, 12764.
“What we most hope to do is recognize the unsung heroes out there who continue to do excellent work,” said Laurie Ramie, Executive Director of the UDC. “Their projects are good models for others to emulate.”
Ramie explained when the UDC formed, there wasn't yet an organization “recognizing the good work on both sides of the river.”
Even 31 years later, the executive director noted there is no lack of quality individuals to recognize for their accomplishments along the Delaware.
Ten awards will be granted at the ceremony, four of which to Wayne County residents.
The Wayne County Commissioners, Brian Smith, Wendell Kay and Joseph Adams, are set to receive the Outstanding Community Achievement Award for their work to prevent further breaching of the Hankins Pond Dam in Mount Pleasant Township.
Grateful for the award, Kay noted all three commissioners recognized the historical significance of the dam and the economic development role it played as a feeder pond along the Delaware & Hudson Canal.
“It's a reminder of those that came before and that Wayne County can function as an economic driver,” said Kay.
The commissioners are still working to reach an agreement with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection which is favorable to all parties.
There is a pending late-May court date if no agreement can be reached before that time.
Additionally, Forrest W. “Frosty” Myers of Damascus will receive the Cultural Achievement Award for his career as a sculptor and artist, his outdoor public gallery at Wild Turkey Sculpture Park and other accomplishments.
According to an email from Ramie, Myers and his wife, Debra, are at his winter studio in St. Augustine, Florida.
They are currently showing a documentary titled, “The Art and Times of Frosty Myers,” at several film festivals in the south.
The prize-winning documentary premiered in 2018 at the Big Eddy Film Festival.
Myers will have a solo gallery exhibition at the Delaware Valley Arts Alliance in Narrowsburg, New York from August 10 to September 14, and he and his wife continue working to establish a museum exhibiting his work in Damascus.
Steven Schwartz of Equinunk will be presented with the Volunteer Award for serving as volunteer coordinator for Upper Delaware BioBlitz events since they began.
He will also be recognized for his environmental activism in the Upper Delaware River Valley region.
Schwartz stated in an email: “I’m honored to receive the UDC Volunteer Award. What makes the Upper Delaware River Watershed special are the many people who volunteer their time and resources to build stronger engaged communities, restore and protect the natural environment, and promote and produce cultural, artistic, educational, social and fun activities of all sorts!”
Larry D. Neal, Jr. of Beach Lake will be honored with the Special Recognition Award for serving with the National Park Service for 28 years.
Neal retired as Chief Ranger for the Law Enforcement Division on Dec. 31, 2018.
Other awards to be handed out on the 28th include:
• Distinguished Service Award, granted to retired New York State 42nd District Senator, John J. Bonacic for advocacy efforts during his 44-year public service career;
• Robin M. Daniels Memorial Lifesaving Award, granted to Forest Ranger Richard “Rick” Franke of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) for a multiple-person, high-water rescue last August;
• Partnership Award, granted to Kris Gilbert and Danielle Besso of the New York State Department of Transportation for their point-of-interest and signage efforts along Route 97 Upper Delaware Scenic Byway and the Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River Unit of the National Parks System;
• Recreation Achievement Award, granted to Pam Reinhard of the Upper Delaware Chapter, Trout Unlimited, for 11 years of coordinating the “Trout in the Classroom” program;
• Community Service Award, granted to Councilwoman Brandi Merolla of the Town of Tusten for her accomplishments as chairperson for the Tusten Energy Committee;
• Oaken Gavel Award, granted to Aaron I. Robinson, representative of Shohola Township, Pennsylvania for his service as UDC chairperson in 2018.
—Information from a release was used in this story.