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PPL, Penn College Continue Long-Standing Partnership

Reaffirming a successful partnership are, from left, Dennis F. Ringling, forestry professor%3B Wayne R. Longbrake, dean of natural resources management%3B Mary A. Sullivan, assistant dean of natural resources management%3B Paul Wirth, PPL's corporate communications manager%3B and Kevin R. Drewencki, superintendent of PPL's Montour Preserve. The group toured the Schneebeli Earth Science Center %96 including this lumber-drying kiln near the center's working sawmill %96 as well as Penn College's main campus. Officials from PPL Corp. and its Montour Preserve visited Pennsylvania College of Technology today, reaffirming a longtime and mutually productive relationship.

“For over two decades, the Montour Preserve and Penn College have had an ongoing partnership that has been beneficial to both,” said Kevin R. Drewencki, the preserve’s superintendent and a veteran member of the college’s Forest Technology Advisory Committee. “It is a tremendous asset to have Penn College and its (Schneebeli) Earth Science Center so close to our facility.”

Drewencki accompanied Paul Wirth, PPL’s manager of corporate communications, and Ryan Hill, an information specialist in the corporate communications office, on tours of the Earth Science Center near Allenwood and the college?s main campus in Williamsport.

Faculty and students from the School of Natural Resources Management long have participated in activities at the preserve just northeast of Washingtonville and less than 20 miles from the Earth Science campus adding to the beauty of the facility’s educational and recreational attributes while providing hands-on instruction for tomorrow’s environmental protectors.

“PPL has proved to be an excellent partner in the educational process,” said Mary A. Sullivan, assistant dean of natural resources management. “They have provided us with employees who serve as advisory board members, educational opportunities for our students at facilities such as Montour Preserve and with scholarship dollars for our students. We look forward to a continued relationship.”

In one such instance, students of Dennis F. Ringling, professor of forestry, cleared wind-felled trees at the preserve.

“It was a working example of cutting, hauling and skidding out logs as real-life practice in their lab,” Drewencki said, “but it also helped us clean up storm damage that would have been very difficult to get to in a timely manner.”

In another example of cooperation, Dennis P. Skinner, assistant professor of horticulture, wrote a helpful guide for wildflowers, cool- and warm-season grasses and other plants that provide eye-catching cover at the preserve and cut down on the areas that require mowing.

Students take frequent laboratory trips to the preserve, observing wildlife habitat and management techniques, learning criteria for designing recreational facilities, and offering cost estimates and other input on landscaping projects, Drewencki said. In addition, PPL is a scholarship contributor and annually donates a chain saw for use in the Woodsman’s Meet.

Penn College also has a history with other members of the corporate family: Donald E. Stringfellow, the utility’s community development director for Lycoming and Clinton counties, is a 2002 “Distinguished Alumnus Award” winner; William R. Miller, a PPL line-clearance inspector and mayor of South Williamsport, was an inaugural recipient of the college’s Humanitarian/Citizenship Award later that same year.

Like Drewencki, both men also are members of college advisory committees groups of industry leaders who monitor trends in their various fields and suggest curricular revisions to reflect the changing needs of their respective areas.

“Our relationship with Penn College is a very nice success story,” Drewencki said, “and we’ll work to promote and preserve that partnership.”

For more about Montour Preserve, call 1-(800)-354-8383, send e-mail or visit online.

For more information about academic programs offered by the School of Natural Resources Management at Penn College, call (570) 320-8038, send e-mail or visit on the Web.

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