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Skylstad receives Western Maryland Consortium Award

January 22, 2006

KEEDYSVILLE - Peter Skylstad, associate professor of natural resources and wildlife technology at Garrett College, received the Western Maryland Conservation Award from the Western Maryland Resource Conservation and Development Council (WMRC&D) at its quarterly meeting Dec. 21 in Keedysville.

Skylstad was recognized for his five years of innovative research on the condition and recovery of the North Branch and Laurel Run Wetlands at the abandoned Kempton Coal Mine Complex in Garrett County, and for inspiring students to pursue careers related to conservation.

Skylstad's research has documented the condition of the wetlands and the effects of remediation projects done on these sites, which have been severely affected by years of acid mine drainage.

Every year, beginning in 2001, Professor Skylstad and his students have quantified the plant, mammal, amphibian, fish and avian species in the wetlands. State-of-the-art technologies such as global positioning systems (GPS) and geospatial information systems (GIS) have been used to ensure that data is collected from the same locations each year so that chronological comparisons are accurate.

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Skylstad is the third recipient of this annual award.

He also was presented with a letter of appreciation for his work at the wetlands from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources Power Plant Research Program.

The Western Maryland Resource Conservation and Development Council Inc. is a nonprofit organization comprised of representatives from the boards of county commissioners, soil conservation districts, several municipalities, grass-roots organizations and interested private individuals from Garrett, Allegany, Washington, Frederick and Carroll counties.

The mission of the WMRC&D is to build and sustain resource conservation programs to raise the quality of social, economic and environmental development in the five-county region, according to a release.

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