Lancaster Watershed Leadership Academy

Lancaster Watershed Leadership Academy supports the personal leadership development of individuals involved in the collective effort for clean water in Lancaster County. This 12-month program consists of watershed content, field investigations, an overnight retreat on the Chesapeake Bay, 10 single day sessions that include field components, and 5 self-selected electives hosted by partner organizations throughout the year.

The deadline to apply was October 9, 2019.  Please check back for announcements about this year’s class and applications for 2021.

Lancaster’s community is diverse and unique, so we look forward to working with watershed leaders that authentically and enthusiastically represent the county.  This year’s cohort of 10 scholars are emerging and established leaders who:
• Have a passion for our community and its clean water issues
• Demonstrate a commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion
• Bring openness, vulnerability, and a strong desire to learn
• Offer a willingness & ability to listen
• Are eager to take creative action based on this experience

2020 Roster

Ricardo Almodovar CASA; Lancaster City Alliance
Wyatt Behringer City of Lancaster
Laura Brenner Lancaster Farmland Trust
Lindsey Deininger Everence
Heath Edelman Thaddeus Stevens College
Marcy Hostetler Semi-retired teacher
Emily Smedley Lancaster Clean Water Partners
Dwayne Steager West Hempfield Township
Katie Surra Thaddeus Stevens College



JD Dunbar Penn State RULE
Allyson Gibson Lancaster Clean Water Partners
Tara Homan Penn State RULE
Matt Royer Penn State AEC

The Academy will follow Lancaster’s waterways, beginning in the headwaters and flowing downstream over the course of the year.  Each session is 1 Saturday from 8am-5pm unless otherwise described.

Session Number & Date Watershed Content Leadership Content
November 21, 2019
Academy kick-off dinner and reception for participants and their family members, Academy presenters, Steering Committee members, & local officials
1 – January 2020 Introduction to Watershed Science and Management Building Trust
2 – February 2020 Drinking Water & Sourcewater Personal strength and trust
3 – March 2020 Small Scale Agriculture and Cultural Connections Integrating communication and culture
4 – April 2020 Land Use and the Plethora of Plans Persuasive speeches
5 – May 2020 Big Ag Business Corporate Social Responsibility; Diversity
6 – June 2020 3 Water Week Events; plus a day of Where the Suburbs Meet the Fields Outreach; Conflict Management
7 – September 2020 Urban Stormwater and Green Infrastructure Training and Mentoring
8 – October 2020 1 Ag Week event plus a day on the river near Columbia Crossings Experiential Learning
9 – November 2020 3 days/2 nights at a CBF Island Education Center in the Chesapeake Group Dynamics & Action
10 – December 2020 Commencement Celebration!
June 2021 Reunion to Review Progress and Check-In with Fellow Participants Turning plans into action




See table for details about each session

Photo Credit: Michelle Johnsen Photography

Photo Credit: Michelle Johnsen Photography

$300 per person
This covers a meal and snacks for each session, field visits, and all materials for the course.  It is our intention to keep this cost reasonable to welcome any and all participants.  The true value of the course, which includes the high quality programming, experts, and field visits, is covered thanks to generous grant support.
Partial scholarships are available.  Please contact Allyson if you are interested in a scholarship.

Thank you to our partners in this exciting, inaugural event.  We are grateful for the support and knowledge from the team at Penn State’s RULE (Rural-Urban Leadership Program).   As the team develops this Academy, we are integrating leadership and education techniques, language, and expert suggestions from Leadership Lancaster, the Chamber, Penn State’s Agriculture and Environment Center, the County Planning Commission, and the Conservation District.