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Enrollee Spotlight

Enrollee Spotlight

Marc A Orlic
ACES Enrollee

Mark Orlic has provided technical support to Pennsylvania’s Clarion Field Office since December 2011.  His monitor, Jared Shippey, says “Mark has been a great asset to NRCS since coming on through the ACES program.  His background provided him excellent experience in working with private landowners to promote conservation.  Mark’s expertise in cropland and forestry conservation systems has increased program participation tremendously.  Mark’s ability to sell conservation globally is quite an achievement.  He has been able to implement conservation systems to small African tribes and also to large dairy and grain farms in the United States.”

 Mark, who earned a BS and MS in Biology from Clarion University of Pennsylvania, worked for two federal agencies during his career – the Peace Corps and the Environmental Protection Agency.  From 1975 – 1978, he was a Peace Corps volunteer in the Congo (formerly Zaire) working as an extension agent in the fish farming program.  After getting his masters degree in 1981, Mark returned to the Peace Corps as Associate Director for Agriculture and Rural Development.  He supervised up to 65 volunteers per country in various programs such as Range Management Improvement, Environmental Education, Fisheries Cooperatives Assistance, and National Park Management Assistance (Morocco); Young Farmer / Agricultural Education (Burkina Faso); and Fish Farming (Congo).  From 1991-2000, Mark worked as team leader for agriculture programs in the Climate Change office of the Environmental Protection Agency in Washington where he collaborated closely with NRCS, mainly on grazing management initiatives.  After EPA, he decided it was time to return to the Peace Corps in Africa where he completed his federal service in Gabon and Botswana as Associate Director for Administration.  In 2006, he and his wife Marie returned to their home near Clarion, PA to enjoy semi-retirement. 

Although there were plenty of chores to do around the house and property, Mark missed the personal contacts and working with people on a daily basis.  He worked for a while with a friend on environmental consulting until an opportunity with Penn Soil RC&D became available. The new job involved close collaboration on forest conservation programs with NRCS. In Mark’s words – “with Penn Soil RC&D, I worked closely on forestry and wildlife conservation projects with the NRCS district conservationist in Warren County.  At the time, the Warren office had an ACES enrollee assisting the DC with conservation planning.  After seeing his work, I became interested in the program.  When an opening came up in Clarion, I applied and got the job.”  It now keeps him busy for 4 days a week.

Mark has been involved with civic organizations ever since he started out with the Peace Corps as a volunteer in Africa in the 1970s.  He recently served 4 years as president and is currently vice president of the Iron Furnace Chapter of Trout Unlimited in Clarion and Jefferson Counties.  He was vice president and is currently treasurer of the Clarion County Federation of Sportsmen Clubs.  He is currently secretary of the Woodland Owners of Clarion Allegheny Valley and is also the secretary of the board of trustees at First Baptist Church in Clarion.

Fly fishing for trout and bow hunting for whitetails are two of Mark’s favorite hobbies.  “I am really fortunate living near Cook Forest in Clarion County.  It is a beautiful area and there are so many things to do year round - whether it is gardening, planting trees, canoeing and kayaking the Clarion River, hunting, fishing, hiking or whatever.”      

Mark had this to say about the ACES program. “This ACES position seems to be a perfect fit for me and I have really enjoyed my first year with the organization.  I have found that working in the area of natural resource conservation with farmers and forest landowners can be very rewarding no matter what part of the world you are in.”