The Carbon Pennsylvania Association of School Retirees (PASR) met this week for its spring meeting and luncheon in the Harvest Cafe at the Carbon Career and Technical Institute in Jim Thorpe.

PASR member Dan Kunkle served as speaker for the event. Kunkle is the executive director and founder of the Lehigh Gap Nature Center and shared information about the center with members attending the meeting.

He noted that in its 10 years, the center has gained local and national recognition for its revegetation efforts in the Lehigh Gap between Palmerton and Slatington.

The Lehigh Gap Nature Center also focuses on conservation and environmental education and research. More than 4,000 students attended educational programs at the center in 2012.

Chapter President Janet Hall also presented a Special Commendation to member James Wentz, who has been recognized in the past as a volunteer of the year, and continues to volunteer throughout the community, primarily at the Lehighton campus of the Blue Mountain Health System.

"Jim is a role model for seniors many years younger than he," said Hall. "All he does, he does with a smile."

During the meeting, Hall also recognized PASR members who have been retired for 20 years or more. Each member received a certificate and gift.

Members reaching or exceeding this milestone included Frank Andreas, Marjorie Balliet, Elizabeth Bray, Richard McIntyre, Ann McNamara, Mary Ellen Poe, Marian Reinbold, Saranne Richards, Dervin Sharbaugh, Perma Snyder, Lynn Solt, Josephine Strausser, James Wentz and Joan Ulshafer.

Hall also welcomed several new members to the Carbon chapter of PASR, including Robert Andrews, Mary Arieta, Dennis Cunfer, Charles DePuy, Mary Ellen Kmetz, Connie Mihalko, Deb Myers, Jill Perry, Debra Rodgers and Leona Sivak.

PASR is a statewide organization dedicated to meeting the needs of retired school employees and organizing service projects that benefit schools and the community. Chapters also award annual scholarships for local students.

The Carbon chapter includes approximately 250 members comprised of former teachers and staff from the Jim Thorpe, Lehighton, Palmerton, Panther Valley, and Weatherly school districts and CCTI.