EPCAMR Promotes David Svab, from Watershed Outreach Intern to Part-Time GIS Technician to work on Mine Subsidence Insurance Underground Anthracite Mine Mapping Project

With the recent departure of one of EPCAMR long-term Watershed Outreach Interns, Justyna Sacharzewska, who was recently promoted to GIS Specialist on a Part-Time basis, but has decided to move on to another GIS position elsewhere, EPCAMR has had to do some juggling in the Office. To reintroduce our supporters to David Svab, who was an EPCAMR Community Service Volunteer in the Summer 2013, and then became one of our Watershed Outreach Interns in the Fall of 2013, EPCAMR would like to refresh your memories with some information from an earlier news article published on our site. David calls Northeastern Pennsylvania his home, spending his entire life, except for the time spent at Penn State University, in the foothills of the Northern Anthracite Coal Fields.  He attended Coughlin High School in the Wilkes-Barre Area School District, where he took a variety of course work to prepare him for an environmental career, not yet defined. While at Coughlin High School, he excelled in basketball, lettering three consecutive years, and was awarded the Andy Day Sportsman Award for his hard work, determination, and team effort. Robert E. Hughes, EPCAMR Executive Director, mentioned, “It’s a small world, because, I met David’s father, who is also a Biology Teacher at Coughlin High School at another EPCAMR Event and we got to talking about volunteer opportunities with EPCAMR.  I was also the former Coughlin Freshmen Boy’s Jr. High Basketball Coach, under the tutelage of Coach Joe Caffrey, who was not only the Guidance Counselor for Coughlin High School, but was the Varsity Head Coach of David’s, and my Varsity Head Coach back in 1990 and 1991, when I was a Captain, during my junior and senior year at E.L. Meyers High School, also in the Wilkes-Barre Area School District. It’s a small world.”

David said, “Robert seems to know just about everybody in the Valley and that turned out to be good for me!”.

Being an avid lover of the outdoors and wildlife, yet not sure which career path to follow, he attended King’s College hoping to sort out his ambitions. There, he rediscovered his great love of the outdoors, and recognized that there was a need to preserve the beauty and transform our local landscapes back home, tarnished by the Anthracite Coal industry of years past. He decided then to attend Penn State University and seek a degree in Environmental Engineering and put his passions to work in order to preserve our natural environment, that can benefit all, while sustaining it for generations to come. Realizing the errors of the past, he was inspired to become an environmental engineer in order to contribute to the community he calls home, right back here in the Wyoming Valley, where EPCAMR has its home base, in the heart of the Anthracite Coal Region.

He graduated from Pennsylvania State University in May 2013 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Engineering. While at Penn State, he gained an understanding of the influence of industrial actions on the environment and the choice of cost effective remediation strategies. He also took classes focusing on water and waste water treatment and sampling and monitoring of the geo-environment. Through his educational experiences in the class, the lab, or field work, he has established the necessary foundation to build a career in the environmental engineering field. David is still in the process of taking tests to obtain his Engineering in Training License, before he can go on to become a Professional Engineer and take his Professional Engineering Exam.

At this time David is putting these skills to use what was for the most part, an unpaid Watershed Outreach Intern working part-time, for EPCAMR, under the direct supervision of the Executive Director, Robert E. Hughes.  He is a team spirited individual with a strong determination to solve problems in a cost efficient and effective manner. EPCAMR was able to secure some small stipends throughout his time with us on several projects including the monitoring of the Groasis Waterboxxes and Stream Restoration Projects, Illegal Dump Site Cleanups, Woody Debris removal projects, and riparian Stream-side plantings, in the Solomon Creek watershed.

“I knew that the EPCAMR internship would give me the experience needed to obtain a job in my field. Robert has already provided me with many networks, connections to other environmental professionals, and interactions with a multitude of organizations, industries, non-profits, State and Federal employees, and other reclamation-related partners that allowed me an opportunity to tell them who I am, what my interests are, and to have the ability to establish a professional rapport with people in my field of interest, to refine my technical skills with hands-on learning, outdoor field training. I’ve learned so much about abandoned mine drainage (AMD) remediation and abandoned mine reclamation in a relatively short period of time from many different aspects from Robert and his Staff, who are one of the most respected regional expert organizations on watershed restoration efforts in the Coal Region,” stated David enthusiastically.

Second day on the job as EPCAMR latest GIS Technican entering data into PA's Historic Underground Mine Mapping Inventory System (PHUMMIS)

David also had the opportunity as a Watershed Outreach Intern to learn how to read mine maps, shadow other Staff working on mine map scanning,  geo-referencing, and cataloging the data that EPCAMR is collecting for the Mine Subsidence Insurance Program into the PA Historic Underground Mine Mapping Inventory System (PHUMMIS) database. This previous familiarity and training from the EPCAMR Staff has allowed him to be given the chance to move from the Internship into a Part-Time GIS Technician position with EPCAMR starting on March 3, 2014 of this week. He’s in an introductory probationary period now for the next 90 days, but will have the opportunity to stick around with us for the next 2.5 years to complete our scope of work under the MSI Mine Map Grant. “Out of the Internship, and into the Fire!”, joked Robert. “He’ll be scanning, cropping, editing, and cataloging, several thousand mine maps for the majority of the time of his job. He’s fitting in just fine. Just goes to show you the VALUE of an unpaid internship early in his career. Others college students and recent graduates that have little experience, should follow in his footsteps.” suggested Robert.