2017-03-04 / Front Page

Local water protector leaves lasting legacy


Jim Clark demonstrates a locking well cap that protects private water supplies. He has retired after more than a quarter-century of educating area residents on environmental stewardship and related topics. Jim Clark demonstrates a locking well cap that protects private water supplies. He has retired after more than a quarter-century of educating area residents on environmental stewardship and related topics. Jim Clark brought a master’s degrees from Cornell University, a passion for education, and a dedication to protecting the environment to his job more than a quartercentury ago.

As an educator and water resources expert serving with Penn State Extension, he has left his mark on the region.

Last week, Clark quietly slipped into retirement without any fanfare, due largely to Extension’s evolving reorganization that includes early-retirement incentives, as well as changes in Penn State’s direction.

Later this year, Don Tanner – who has served as district director for decades – will follow him into retirement.

There was no send-off for Clark, other than his receipt of the 2017 President’s Award from Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful for his impressive work in organizing and operating a Pa. Cleanways organization in McKean County.

It’s typical of a Jim Clark project. Without fanfare, he helped to recruit more than 950 volunteers over past 17 years to rid the countryside of 140 tons of trash, 31,400 discarded tires, 39 tons of electronic items and 1,680 pounds of unwanted medication.

In Potter County, he served with the Triple Divide Watershed Coalition, Water Quality Work Group, and Natural Gas Resource Center.

Across multiple counties, Clark offered practical advice and a public education on source-water protection, private water supplies, pond management, keeping pesticides out of groundwater, roadside springs, battling aquatic invasives, protecting riparian buffers, safe disposal of unwanted medicine and other topics.

Among his many accolades was the 2013 Silver Award for Innovation from the Association of Natural Resource Extension Professionals.

Return to top