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Larry J. Schweiger

The Fish and Boat Commission has announced the selection of Larry J. Schweiger, President of the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, as the 1999 winner of its highest honor, the Ralph W. Abele Conservation Heritage Award. The announcement came at the Commission fall quarterly meeting September 27, 1999 in Bedford.

Schweiger is President and Chief Executive Officer of the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, a land conservation organization that has protected more than 200,000 acres in the Commonwealth. During his time with the Conservancy, he was instrumental in structuring the Commonwealth's largest private land conservation reserve, the 11,000-acre H.J. Crawford Reserve in Venango County. Under his direction, 3,500 acres of riverbank along the Clarion River have been protected as well as 4,448 acres of Tamarack Swamp in Clinton County.

Before coming to the Conservancy, Schweiger served with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, where he was responsible for the foundation's resource protection and land trust activities. Prior to that, he worked for the National Wildlife Federation as publisher of its award-winning magazines and as Senior Vice President for Constituent Development. He has devoted his professional life to projects that protect, conserve and enhance the natural resources of Pennsylvania.

Schweiger was also a close friend and associate of Ralph Abele during the years when Abele served as Executive Director of the Fish Commission and as a director of the National Wildlife Federation. He has put the "Resource First" in his efforts to conserve Pennsylvania's precious resources.

In announcing the award, Commission Executive Director Peter A. Colangelo said, "I'm delighted to announce the selection of Larry J. Schweiger as the 1999 winner of the Ralph W. Abele Conservation Heritage Award. Larry's dedication to Ralph's conservation ideals is clearly exemplified by his many years of service on the front lines of conservation. In recognizing Larry's tremendous accomplishments and commitment, we honor Ralph's memory and rededicate ourselves to his ideals."