A determined group of people in Northeast Pa. came together in 1971 because they saw the need to tackle some local environmental issues. To accomplish their goals, they decided to create a chapter of the National Audubon Society. They named it the Wayne-Pike Audubon Society based upon the two-county area National was offering for membership revenue. Some of the key founders were Voni & Joe Strasser, Dorothy & Dan Merrill, Mary & Dick Palmer, Jack Silberlicht, Florence Welton, Harris Woodley, Mike Gadomski, and Florence & Norman Welton.
Strongly committed to promoting a healthy environment, they went about the work of convincing others of the need to speak out on issues vital to the quality of life on this planet. Some of the first issues they tackled were the protection of a threatened heron rookery, creating bluebird trails, the nomination of the Upper Delaware as a Wild & Scenic River, and fighting the Tocks Island dam proposal for the Delaware River. Thanks to their efforts and those of sister organizations, the Delaware today remains a free-flowing river.
A few years after the group was founded, “energy parks” were proposed by a consortium of Pa. utilities. Our group was instrumental in introducing this concept to the citizens. We had scheduled a general “Nuclear Energy and You” program organized by Katharine Dodge that happened to coincide with the introduction of the energy park concept. We went on to help defeat the plan to site five to ten nuclear and five to ten coal plants at one site in rural Pa. For many years, we worked closely with Dr. Judith Johnsrud and the Pa. Coalition on Nuclear Power, especially on nuclear waste issues.
When Gifford Pinchot Audubon was formed in Milford, Pa, we lost about 1/3 of our territory in Pike County. In exchange, National enlarged our territory from just Wayne & Pike Counties, to about 1/3 of Pike, and all of Wayne, Susquehanna, and Lackawanna Counties. Thus, we changed our name to the Northeast Pa. Audubon Society.
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