Ivan McKeever

Ivan McKeever

February 13, 1902 - June 1, 1992

Ivan McKeever was born in Renick, West Virginia, on February 13, 1902. Since the age of 10, Ivan was working on conservation in one way or another where he would help his father haul thorn brush to fill active gullies in one pasture field.

McKeever always believed that education was the foundation of an everlasting benefit for our environment. Early in his life, he became a teacher of agriculture where he had the opportunity to teach high school boys and their fathers the importance of conservation.

McKeever pursued a career focusing on soil conservation after teaching. In 1934, he began the first erosion control project in West Virginia. Although important, his real opportunity to make a difference came in 1946 when he was appointed State Conservationist in Pennsylvania. The title provided McKeever a chance to help organize soil conservation districts across the state and to help implement conservation practices on thousands of farms in Pennsylvania. After serving this position for 22 years, Ivan Mckeever retired in 1968.

Following his retirement, McKeever stayed active in the field of conservation as he assisted with the development of Maurice K. Goddard State Park that spans close to 3,000 acres. In the early 1970s, McKeever dreamed about creating a learning center where people could gather and share ideas, examine alternatives and plan responsibility for the future. McKeever shared his dream with the Sandy Creek Conservancy, and in 1974, his dream became a reality when the conservancy renamed the Penn Soil Conservation Center to the McKeever Environmental Learning Center (http://www.mckeever.org/). The learning center is located at Sandy Lake, Pennsylvania and is under the management of Slippery Rock University and assisted by the State Universities of California, Clarion, Edinboro, and Indiana. The center contains five wooded hiking trails that cover four miles and is open free to the public from sunrise to sunset all year round.

Before his death on June 1, 1992, Ivan established the McKeever Foundation to support research and grant scholarships to college students.