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Sankey joins state Game Commission board

Two vacancies on the Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners were filled recently when Haley J. Sankey, of Tyrone, Blair County, and Allen J. Di Marco, of Allenwood, Lycoming County were appointed to serve.

Sankey was selected from District 4, which includes Bedford, Blair, Cambria, Fulton, Huntingdon and Somerset counties. This position was left vacant when former Game Commissioner Timothy S. Layton’s term expired.

Di Marco was selected from District 5, which includes Bradford, Columbia, Lycoming, Montour, Northumberland, Sullivan, Tioga and Union counties. This position was left vacant when former Game Commissioner Charles E. Fox’s term expired.

Commissioners are selected from eight geographic areas to ensure uniform representation throughout Pennsylvania. Once appointed, however, commissioners represent all Pennsylvania citizens, not just those from their districts.

Sankey and Di Marco were appointed on Dec. 15. Each will serve four-year terms.

Sankey grew up in Clearfield County, and she spends the bulk of her free time outdoors. She enjoys hunting, hiking, fishing, boating, skiing, and biking.

“If it involves being outside, I’ll be there,” she said.

Sankey learned about managing soil and water resources, fish migrations and wildlife tagging and tracking in high school environmental science and biology classes, which further piqued her interest in conservation, and she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Practice and Policy from Juniata College in 1999. She then earned a master’s degree in Project Management from the Pennsylvania State University. Since 2011, Sankey has been teaching in the Energy and Sustainability Policy Program at Penn State’s University Park campus.

“I am extremely excited to be working on conservation issues at the state level as a member of the Game Commission board,” Sankey said. “I look forward to helping shape the policies associated with our resources and promoting the hunting and trapping traditions that Pennsylvanians love.”

Di Marco was originally from Elimsport and has been a hunter since 1959. He’s a member of the Grays Run Hunting and Fishing Club, has mentored three sons in the hunting and trapping traditions, and has been a Hunter Access Program cooperator since 1974.

Di Marco graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Business Education from Shippensburg College in 1969. He went on to earn a master’s degree in Student Personnel Management in 1972 from the Pennsylvania State University.

Di Marco began his career in 1969 as a teacher in the Loyalsock Township School District. In 1989, he became assistant high school principal, and in 1994 the principal, retiring in 2009 with 40 years in public education.

As a commissioner, Di Marco says his various positions of leadership, his 48 years as a crop and beef farmer, and his lifelong passion for hunting and trapping will enable him to represent the many varied interests of Commonwealth citizens in wildlife conservation.

“As a current Hunter Access Program cooperator, on the board I would like to continue to foster positive relationships between the Game Commission and landowners,” he said. “I am particularly interested in habitat enhancement on private and public lands, and will advocate for additional youth hunting opportunities.”

With the new appointments, seven of the eight seats on the Board of Commissioners are filled. But with the initial four-year terms of District 6 Commissioner Michael F. Mitrick, of York, and District 7 Commissioner Stanley I. Knick Jr., of Dupont, already expired, and both commissioners remaining on the board through six-month extensions that are set to expire prior to the board’s next scheduled meeting on Jan. 28 and 29, further action must take place for the board to conduct official business in January.

If either Mitrick or Knick is reappointed to a second four-year term prior to the meeting, however, it ensures the board will have a quorum of six.

Game Commission Executive Director Bryan Burhans said the appointments keep the board on track in continuing to make decisions impacting Pennsylvania’s wildlife. He welcomes Sankey and Di Marco to the board and wishes them well in their new roles.

“Both of the new commissioners bring a unique perspective and voice to the board and I look forward to seeing them pair their experience in the outdoors with their teaching and leadership skills for the benefit of hunters, trappers and all Pennsylvanians,” Burhans said.

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