Susquehanna University

SELINSGROVE — Jonathan Niles, director of Susquehanna University’s Freshwater Research Institute, was awarded Outstanding Coldwater Conservationist by the Pennsylvania Council of Trout Unlimited.

Niles was honored for his “extensive professional and ongoing dedication to monitor, restore and protect Pennsylvania’s cold-water resources,” his nomination read.

Over his nine years at Susquehanna, Niles has worked with the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission’s Unassessed Waters Initiative, which was launched in 2010 to document wild trout streams in danger of increasing human encroachment.

Under Niles’ leadership, Susquehanna has surveyed more than 800 of the 7,000 assessed stream segments — more than any other PFBC partner except Trout Unlimited, a national organization with about 300,000 members.

The data Niles and his students collect directly influences whether the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) places greater protections around a stream, thereby creating certain restrictions for proposed development.

Niles also established long-term data collection in 30 streams within the Loyalsock Creek Watershed to determine the impacts of flooding on brook trout and aquatic insect populations.

Niles was also recognized for his ongoing, collaborative work with the PFBC, DEP, local county conservation districts, the Chesapeake Conservancy, the Susquehanna River Heartland Coalition, and researchers from nearby colleges and universities.

UPMC Susquehanna Williamsport Regional Medical Center

WILLIAMSPORT — The Birthplace at UPMC Susquehanna Williamsport Regional Medical Center in Williamsport is among the first hospitals in the nation to successfully complete the EMPower Training initiative, a skills-based competency training to advance knowledge and skills in evidence-based maternity practices supportive of optimal infant nutrition.

Funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the EMPower Training initiative is committed to safe implementation of maternity care practices to support optimal infant nutrition, including breastfeeding, toward the goal of improving the public’s health.

“Proper nutrition is an essential part of a baby’s growth and development,” said Natalie McCullen, RN, board certified lactation consultant, UPMC Susquehanna. “Breastfeeding provides a baby with all the nutrition and disease protection needed for normal growth and lifelong disease protection. The EMPower Training initiative builds off our existing Baby-Friendly designation and helps our team ensure that our policies and procedures for breastfeeding are implemented safely, as intended, for each mother and her infant.”

As part of this effort, UPMC Susquehanna committed to training staff in accordance with the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) guidance outlined in the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding. With the help of the EMPower Training initiative, UPMC Susquehanna is now equipped with skills needed to help support mothers in the safe implementation of optimal infant nutrition.

Chris Brady is managing editor at The Standard-Journal and can be reached at

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