Deb Nardone wants you to get out — into the outdoors. “We know that people are willing to protect the places in their backyard when they feel comfortable and confident being in it,” she says. As the executive director of ClearWater Conservancy since September 2016, where she arrived with decades of conservation experience, Nardone is excited about this summer’s Centred Outdoors initiative, funded by a grant from Centre Foundation, which aims to encourage Centre County residents to experience the amazing nature that surrounds them. It’s just one part of her job that she loves. “I get the chance to work for and be at the helm of an organization that is sophisticated and really well respected in the community. We do really important work. We’re thinking about how to protect the places that people love here.” Before she heads out for this month’s 21st annual Watershed Cleanup Day on April 22, we caught up with the nature lover to see what five things, besides her husband, Jason, and son, Jonah, keep her in a clean and clear state of mind.
1. LEASH ON LIFE
Nardone, her husband, Jason, and son, Jonah, live in Port Matilda at the top of a ridge — they are surrounded by forest and views out into the valley. “I love walking in these woods with my dogs, Sam and Cooper… People move to this area because it’s beautiful, because it has lots of woods that you can hike in and waters that you can fish. Clearwater’s mission is to conserve and protect those places, so I’m pretty honored to be able to do that.”
2. RING OF FIRE
“One of my favorite things is the fireplace and the windows. I love a warm fire and hanging out with my family. Right down the bottom of the hill in the yard we have a huge rock fireplace. Every Wednesday and Sunday we cook over a campfire for dinner. We found that as a family we weren’t camping nearly enough, so we moved to the woods and camp in our backyard.”
3. THAT'S THE TICKET
“I’m a huge fan of live music and we go to a lot of shows. We go to The State Theatre an incredible amount, anything from jazz to jam bands. We’re really lucky to have a local venue that gets some really top notch bands in. We go to a lot of music festivals, too. Music is something that really relaxes me and inspires me too.”
4. PICTURE THIS
“I’m a huge fan of art that’s meaningful to me. I don’t have things on my wall that don’t have a story behind them. I’d say my favorite piece is the one my mom did as a follow-up to her first river trip.” The pair paddled down the Juniata for eight days, and Nardone and her family take similar extended canoe trips each year.
5. FINISHING TOUCHES
“I really like to take old things and make them new. I am a master at picking at yard sales and Goodwill and flea markets. Probably 90 percent of the furniture you see in this house is stuff that I’ve picked and refurbished myself. This piece was covered in red and yellow paint — I refurbished it and what was underneath all that paint was really beautiful.”