Nature Photography Day: The Susquehanna North Branch

This week, North Branch Land Trust assembled a team of judges from local conservation organizations to select the winners of the Susquehanna North Branch Nature Photography contest hosted by NBLT. Winning Photographers, Kevin Jones, Cheryl Miller, and Gail Stasko received conservation swag bags to honor their great work in capturing important moments around the Susquehanna Watershed in Wildlife, Plant Life, Recreation and Landscape categories.

The Susquehanna watershed is more than just the river. It is all of the lands that surround it, all of the creeks that lead into it, and all of the lands that drain into those creeks that drain into the Susquehanna that eventually reaches the Chesapeake Bay! From Tunkhannock’s Riverside Park to the tippy top of Mountain Top, it is all connected.


Cheryl Miller – Creek Family

Cheryl Miller


Gail Stasko – Daisy Dronefly



Kevin Jones – Kayaking the Susquehanna


Gail Stasko – Stormy Golden Hour


Thank you, applicants.

“If I were a raindrop” Activity sheet

Water stewards in training, check out this fun activity sheet! Learn about our watershed and help NBLT create new stewardship signs for our preserves.

Activity sheet can be printed on legal paper. Be sure to “flip on the short edge” if printing both sides

if i were a raindrop

Thank you, young conservationists!

With passion anything is possible. No matter your age, anyone can make a difference in their community. The 5th grade gifted classes at Dallas Intermediate School exemplifies such acts of passion in Earth conservation. When asked why conservation is so important, students were eager to answer. Owen Casey Williams said, “Conservation is important to me because we live in a world where lots of harmful gases and chemicals go into our air and water and I want to help put an end to it, or at least reduce it.” Echoing this sentiment was Gabe Caleb, stating conservation “allows land that would otherwise be destroyed to get saved and be protected for the future.” Emily Miller emphasized the importance of conservation by stating the harsh reality that “if the land dies, we die.” Jaxon Yefko added, “the world won’t live much longer if we don’t do anything.” Such devotion and passion led this 5th grade class to become North Branch Land Trust’s youngest supporters.

This marvelous accomplishment could not have been made possible without Mrs. Deborah Pike, educator at Dallas Intermediate School, and her classroom aide Mrs. Nancy Krasniak. Mrs. Pike has been teaching the importance of Earth Conservation to Dallas youth for 15 years. With the impacts of climate change becoming more prevalent, she saw a desperate need for action and created engaging programs, such as Climate Captains, that allow students to become advocates for the Earth and conservation. The goal of their team’s campaign is to inform the community about the environment and what we can do to help it. The program gives students the opportunity to protect biodiversity, minimize waste in our community, and protect land.

The class has done multiple projects that include tending to last year’s 5th grade class’s butterfly garden and participating in the UNLESS project sponsored by the Philadelphia Zoo and Albert M. Greenfield Foundation. Mrs. Pike shared that the project “has been the impetus for my students’ project and our passion for the environment. Their hard work has truly embodied the contest quote, “UNLESS someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better, it’s not (Dr. Suess, The Lorax).”

The project was a great opportunity to go in-depth about the importance of conservation, Molly Loftus appreciates the opportunity, stating “I learned the importance about conservation when we started the UNLESS project. I learned a lot about conservation that I didn’t know before.” Henry Raub first learned about conservation in Mrs. Pike’s 3rd grade class, this project allowed him to continue his journey in protecting the earth, explaining his goal is for “everyone to be able to see and feel what we can today.”

This year the students have focused on protecting animals and waste reduction. Students successfully saved more than 154 lbs. of waste from entering our landfills! They were also able to create educational newsletters for peers, hosted a door decorating fundraiser, adopted a lion from the Philadelphia Zoo and are currently in the process of building an outdoor library.

It was during an informative zoo visit that explained the importance of habit protection which inspired the class to research and find a local organization that supports such a mission. They found the North Branch Land Trust, with a mission “to conserve the natural, working and scenic landscapes in Northeastern Pennsylvania that enrich our lives.” Logan Brown explained North Branch was the perfect choice, “The world is starting to develop more and more industrially and North Branch Land Trust conserves land so it’s protected.”

The class chose to use their fundraising to wholeheartedly donate to the Land Trust to continue to help reduce habit loss and protect nature as nature holds a special place in many of the students’ hearts. Nick Federici explains, “My favorite things about nature is the woods, I like to go and run around and play in the woods. I also like to play baseball in the grass.” Arushi Kishore shares similar fondness saying “My favorite things about nature is seeing all of the beautiful plants, and flowers. I also love to go on walks and breath the fresh air.”

The program has not only created Earth awareness and acts of conservation but also allowed for students to grow as individuals. Many students have learned that they would like a future working in conservation when they get older. When asked “Do you see yourself in conservation when you get older?”  Molly Knight passionately stated “Yes, in gardening and making pollinator gardens because nature is an important part of my life.” Kenzie Kutch explains she can also see herself as a future conservationist, stating “I would like to work as an environmental education specialist because I would be able to teach many people about the benefits of things like conservation.” Minka Udomsak knows how important conservation now and in the future will be, sharing “In the future life will need conservation more than ever, conservation can save lives.”

Some students have other career plans but will always have a love for nature. Doug Roberts loves the fresh air, animals and trees but says his career goals are to play professional football explaining, “I love football so much and I want to earn a lot of money to help my family since my sister wants to start a bakery when she gets older.” Although he wants to be a dentist, Roman Elbattah has a passion and love of geology, explaining his favorite part of nature is “uncovering rocks and fossils.”

Mrs. Pike could not be prouder of her students’ accomplishments and growth saying “I am incredibly proud of the way my students worked together. They found their strengths and talents and each one used them for the benefit of the whole group and the project at large. They brainstormed, debated, focused, shared, listened, and worked together cooperatively to make their goals a reality.”

North Branch Land Trust is able to continue conserving the natural, working and scenic landscapes in Northeastern Pennsylvania that enrich our lives through member support.

Environmental Educator

Vote North Branch of the Susquehanna River of the Year


D&L Wilkes Barre

Anyone Can Identify

Want to learn how to identify species in NEPA? A good guidebook can be the difference between struggling and citizen scientist! If you are someone who always has your phone on you, check out the Seek app by iNaturalist. This app challenges you to get familiar with your backyard and learn about the plants, animals, insects, fungus and more that inhabit it.

come Bioblitz!

Meet Executive Director Ellen Ferretti

In November 2021, Ellen Ferretti, former Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Tuesday was named executive director of the North Branch Land trust.

Ferretti succeeds Paul Lumia, who served as the North Branch Land Trust’s executive director for the last 14 years.

“I am honored to join the North Branch Land Trust and help shape conservation strategy and land and water protection in this region,” Ferretti said. “Having grown up in this part of Pennsylvania, coming back to this land trust with this mission has special meaning to me, and I am thrilled to be home. I look forward to building on Paul’s accomplishments and working with the dedicated staff, board, and community partners who are committed to protecting the precious lands and waters of Northeastern Pennsylvania.”

The Board of Directors of the North Branch Land Trust announced Ferretti’s appointment, concluding a comprehensive search process conducted by the NBLT’s Executive Director Search Committee.

“Our board of directors is thrilled to welcome Ellen Ferretti to the North Branch Land Trust,” said board chair Christina Taylor. “Ellen has a track record of conservation success wherever she goes. She has a demonstrated ability to forge strong partnerships, build effective teams and execute complex land transactions. She brings a steadfast personal commitment to land conservation and deep connections in land trust communities across the northeast. We are excited that she has decided to move back home to Northeastern Pennsylvania and confident that she will continue to advance the North Branch Land Trust’s conservation initiatives throughout the region.”

Since 2016, Ferretti has served as Director of the Brandywine Conservancy in Chadds Ford in southeastern Pennsylvania. In this role, she oversaw a team of 25 people, 490 easements and 6 preserves throughout southeastern and southwestern Pennsylvania, all engaged in vibrant land conservation, stewardship and municipal assistance projects and programs.

Prior to this appointment, Ferretti served as Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources as well as Northeast Regional Director of the Pennsylvania Environmental Council. She holds a B.A. in Environmental Science from Wilkes University.

During Lumia’s tenure, the Land Trust permanently protected more than 15,000 acres and grew into a regional conservation leader. Today, the Land Trust is proud to oversee more than 70 conservation easements and 1,500 acres of preserves open to the public’s enjoyment.

“Ellen Ferretti is an exciting choice and I look forward to supporting her leadership of the North Branch Land Trust into the future,” Lumia said. “Ellen’s conservation expertise and dedication to protecting land will serve the North Branch Land Trust and the region well.”

Since 1994, operating as a non-profit, community-based land conservation organization, the North Branch Land Trust has worked diligently to conserve over 23,000 acres of Northeastern Pennsylvania’s natural lands and resources.

Beyond sustaining the area’s natural beauty, NBLT’s efforts improve the quality of life for everyone who lives in this region. From such projects as opening lands for public use and passive recreation, to improving water quality, to drawing in tourism, to promoting responsible development strategies, all residents benefit from land conservation.

An accredited member of the Land Trust Alliance, NBLT is one of more than 1,300 non-profit land trusts in the United States.