Earth Conservancy

Dedicated to Mine Land Reclamation, Conservation, & Economic Development in the Wyoming Valley

Ashley, PA   |  http://www.earthconservancy.org

Mission

Earth Conservancy is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to the reclamation and return of nearly 16,500 acres of former coal company-owned land to the region. It collaborates with local communities, government agencies, education institutions, and the private sector to spearhead the creation and implementation of plans that restore the land’s economic, recreational, residential, and ecological value.

Ruling year info

1993

President/CEO

Mr. Terence J. Ostrowski

Main address

101 South Main Street

Ashley, PA 18706-1506 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

23-2683110

NTEE code info

Pollution Abatement and Control Services (C20)

Water Resource, Wetlands Conservation and Management (C32)

Natural Resource Conservation and Protection (C30)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Following the Susquehanna River in northeastern Pennsylvania is the Wyoming Valley. Its communities, like many within the anthracite fields, flourished with the rise of the coal industry. Anthracite was an efficient fuel source, and crucial to the Industrial Revolution. At its height, over 100 million tons of coal were culled annually from the land. After World War II, however, the need for anthracite declined. This, coupled with the deadly Knox Mine Disaster in 1959, led to the industry’s end locally. Unfortunately, when the companies closed, operations were abandoned entirely. What they left was a patchwork of towns abutting thousand-acre stretches of coal waste and stripping pits. Waterways were destroyed or turned orange by acid mine drainage. Earth Conservancy (EC) was formed with the intent of mending these damages, helping to revitalize the environment, economy, and quality of life in the region.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Reclamation and Resue of Legacy Minelands

Earth Conservancy (EC) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to addressing the impacts of historic coal mining in northeastern Pennsylvania. Our focus: reclamation, conservation, and economic revitalization. In 1994, EC purchased the lands of the former Blue Coal Corporation. Generally located to the west of Wilkes-Barre, many of the 16,500 acres situated among the small boroughs and towns have been ignored, seen only as permanent eyesores and reminders of the past. EC, however, views these lands as an opportunity for growth, progress, and transformation. To this end, EC has devoted 25 years to restoring environmental and economic health in the region. In partnership with local communities and government agencies, we have developed long-range land use plans to guide our work and best repurpose the lands to benefit surrounding communities. As of today, 2,000 deeply-scarred acres of mine land have been reclaimed and now are committed to positive use across a variety of sectors, including residential, light industrial, recreation, and greenspace, bringing with them thousands of jobs.

Population(s) Served
Adults

At the end of the coal era, the environmental landscape was grim. Companies abandoned their entirely, not only leaving thousand-acre stretches of coal waste and stripping pits, but also hundred of miles of damaged waterways. Channels were disrupted, lost underground, or turned orange by acid mine drainage (AMD). Healthy ecosystems in these areas were impossible. To mitigate these impacts, EC has planned for the repair of several watersheds within its boundaries. The Nanticoke Creek watershed is the current focus. Three AMD treatment systems have been constructed, and a reconstruction of over 5,000lf of stream channel is underway.

Population(s) Served
Adults

EC’s original Land Use Plan (1996) surveyed all 16,500 acres the organization owned, identifying ideal uses for each tract. At least 10,000 acres were selected for recreational and green space, and evaluated further in EC’s Lower Wyoming Valley Open Space Master Plan (1998). As of 2019, EC has committed 8,000 acres for green uses. Approximately 6,700 acres have been transferred into the Pennsylvania State Forest System.

Population(s) Served
Adults

Northeastern Pennsylvania can be proud of its mining heritage. Mining fueled America’s Industrial Revolution, and the industry attracted and provided for thousands. Nevertheless, when the companies closed, the region’s economy declined steeply. Since that time, good paying jobs accessible to the many have never reappeared, and local economic and industrial initiatives have failed to thrive. The Environmental Workforce Training (EWT) Program seeks to train unemployed, underemployed, and dislocated workers in a 12-county region of northeastern Pennsylvania, which has been impacted by the demise of anthracite coal mining and subsidiary industries. The 205-hour program focuses on surveying and environmental cleanup skills and technologies, with instruction provided by Penn State Wilkes-Barre. The primary outcome is for program graduates to complete the coursework, earn three industry-recognized certificates, and obtain self-sustaining employment in an environmental field.

Population(s) Served
Unemployed people

Where we work

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of mine-scarred acres reclaimed

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Reclamation and Resue of Legacy Minelands

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

EC will reclaim over 3,000 mine-scarred acres for environmental and economic revitalization.

Number of acres of land protected

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Conservation

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

EC will dedicate 10,000 of its 14,496 acres to recreation and greenspace.

Total weight of materials recycled

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

EC operates a large-scale leaf and yard waste composting facility, open to all residents and municipalities of Luzerne County.

Total number of acres held by Earth Conservancy

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Reclamation and Resue of Legacy Minelands

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Decreasing

Context Notes

Earth Conservancy is committed to the reclamation and return of 16,496 acres of former coal company-owned land to the region.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Earth Conservancy (EC) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to addressing the impacts of historical coal mining practices in northeastern Pennsylvania. Our focus: reclamation, conservation, and economic revitalization. In 1992, spearheaded by Congressman Paul E. Kanjorski, leaders from area colleges, businesses, nonprofits, and municipalities joined together to address the lands of the Blue Coal Corporation, which had declared bankruptcy in the mid-1970s. Generally located to the west of Wilkes-Barre, many of the 16,500 acres situated among the small towns and boroughs have been ignored, the mine-scarred land seen only as permanent eyesores and reminders of the past. EC, however, views them as an opportunity for transformation, growth, and progress. After obtaining $14 million in grants and an additional $2 million in private loans, EC purchased the Blue Coal lands in 1994. The vision then, as it is now, is to lead our communities in the reclamation of mine-scarred lands and streams, returning strong economic, environmental, and social value to the region by creating a well-planned vibrant valley, protected by green ridgetops.

EC is committed to the reclamation and return of these 16,500 acres to the region. To this end, EC
1. Develops sustainable land-use plans;
2. Commits to provide 10,000 acres for recreation and open space;
3. Leads reclamation efforts of mine-scarred lands and water resources, and guides their reutilization;
4. Funds its work through the sale of EC lands and other resources, and through public and private sector partners;
5. Partners with local communities to achieve our mission; and
6. Educates the community-at-large on environmental issues, the benefits of reclamation, and effective land-use planning.

EC has extensive experience in planning, managing, and completing large federal, state, and private grants, including 24 grants from nine federal agencies, with project costs exceeding $15.1 million. Its organizational structure supports this. EC’s 12-member, all-volunteer Board of Directors provides strategic governance, policy recommendations, fiscal guidance, and outcome reviews. Day-to-day operations are performed by EC’s core staff, a team committed to EC’s mission and well-equipped to handle project requirements.

Over the past 25 years, EC has made significant progress in improving the region's environment, economy, and quality of life. This has included completing 10 land use plans and feasibility studies; reclamation of 2,000 mine-scarred acres; construction of three AMD treatment systems; and preservation of 8,000 acres for recreation/greenspace (which includes three trail systems). EC also participates in environmental outreach initiatives, oversees a environmental workforce training program, hosts a community garden, and runs a large-scale composting facility for country residents. EC's projects have earned federal, state, and local awards, including eight Pennsylvania Governor’s Awards for Environmental Excellence. All of this work will continue in order to achieve EC’s overarching plan, one that seeks a more livable community now, and clears the way for positive, progressive change for future generations.

Financials

Earth Conservancy
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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Earth Conservancy

Board of directors
as of 2/26/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Mr. John McCarthy, Jr.

McCarthy Tire & Automotive Centers

John Ryan, CSC, PhD

King's College

John McCarthy, Jr.

McCarth Tire & Automotive Centers

Joseph Frank, Jr.

Centralia Coal Sales Company

Daryl Pawlush

PennEastern Engineers, LLC

Thomas Lawson, PE, PLS

Borton Lawson

Joseph Hillan

Newport Township

Michael Johnson

No Affiliation

Kathy Pape, Esq.

McNees Wallace & Nurick, LLC

Kelly Ciravolo, Esq.

Anzalone Law Offices

Thomas Leary

Luzenere County Community College

Holly Frederick, PE, PhD

Wilkes University

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? No