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North Pocono CARE

Protecting the Headwaters of the Lehigh River

Learn More About Us

North Pocono CARE is a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving the environment in the North Pocono area of Northeastern Pennsylvania. We strive to protect the headwaters of the Lehigh River and its watershed.

Our History

North Pocono CARE was founded in 1988 when a pollution threat to the Lehigh River from a proposed medical waste treatment and disposal facility loomed. The group was formed to raise awareness about the facility and the impact it would have on the fragile local environment. The medical waste facility was never built. Another challenge arose in 1992 when a school and developer proposed to discharge sewage to the Lehigh River - which has special protection status. The actions of North Pocono CARE and others persuaded the school and developer to consider a more environmentally friendly system.

In 1996, North Pocono CARE was incorporated under Pennsylvania law and in 2001 it received 501(c)(3) nonprofit status. This makes it possible for the organization to receive tax deductible gifts from individuals and grants from governments, foundations, and others.

The support we needed soon followed. In 2001, North Pocono CARE received a technical assistance grant from C-SAW, the Consortium for Scientific Assistance to Watersheds. The following year, it received a Growing Greener Grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. These tools have enabled the volunteers to develop additional watershed protection skills and begin a volunteer stream monitoring program.

Why We Are Active

The headwaters of the Lehigh River are a unique ecosystem. They extend over 20 miles, from Pocono Peak Lake and Lehigh Pond in Lehigh Township, Wayne County, to Tobyhanna Creek in Tobyhanna Township, Monroe County. These headwaters also include many beautiful tributaries and lakes such as Ash Creek, Pond Creek, Choke Creek, Big Bass Lake, Brady's Lake, and Arrowhead Lake.

The Nature Conservancy has recognized the Poconos as, "One of the Last Great Places on Earth" and has identified many areas in the watershed as having significant communities of rare and endangered species. We are working to protect this great place for future generations.

These headwaters are currently designated by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection as Exceptional Value Water Fisheries, the highest classification assigned by the State. The exceptional value classification was achieved by the North Pocono CARE petition to have these waters recognized at the exceptional value levels.


There are many challenges to protecting the headwaters of the Lehigh River and its watershed, including:

  • Forest Fragmentation
  • Pollution
  • The Loss of Important Wetlands
  • The Loss of Streamside Buffers and Vernal Ponds
  • The Spread of Invasive Species
  • The Loss of Native Species

North Pocono CARE carries out educational programs, monitors conditions, and takes necessary actions in order to meet these challenges and protect our waters and watershed.

Our Organization

North Pocono CARE is a tax exempt, nonprofit corporation with a board of directors. We have a governing set of bylaws and hold board meetings at least four times each year. Under the bylaws, the board has the authority to conduct and direct all activities of the organization.

North Pocono CARE has no paid employees. All activities are undertaken by volunteers. If you would like to become involved, please contact us.

The current Board of Directors and Officers are:

  • Richard Troscianecki, President
  • Barbara L. (Bonnie) Smith, Vice President
  • Susan Berkery, Secretary/Treasurer
  • Sandra Bensinger
  • Mary Jane Cecci
  • Tom Filla
  • Joan Halle
  • Larry Jarema
  • Brian Strauch

Bonnie Smith, our past President, received a 2010 Save Our Planet award from the Greater Pocono Chamber of Commerce, 2011 Environmental Leadership Award from the Pennsylvania Environmental Council, and a 2015 Distinguished Alumna Award from Chatham University for her work at North Pocono CARE.

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