Greetings residents of Schuylkill County and anyone interested in the progress of Schuylkill Headwaters Association (SHA) as we continue to implement projects in our local watershed, the Schuylkill River. Moving toward the last month of 2016, there are a few updates that we are excited to share with you about what has been happening within the organization.
In July, SHA got a new Office of Surface Mining Volunteer in Service to America (OSM VISTA). As a local resident of Schuylkill County, Nathaniel A. Hafer (pictured) is serving the county with SHA. We are excited to have Nate on board. He will be building our organization’s capacity and implementing projects in the watershed.
Project Schuylkill Outdoor Leadership Odyssey
As an extension of the OSM VISTA program and a partnership with the Schuylkill River Heritage Area, SHA designed and facilitated a highly interactive and scientifically integrative 10-week learning experience for the eighth grade class of Gillingham Charter School. Project Schuylkill Outdoor Leadership Odyssey (SOLO) consisted of 10 field and classroom experiences designed to give the students both knowledge and a real world career-centered perspective of the outdoor, environmental, and scientific fields. Fifteen students of teacher Taia Bachman’s eighth grade class successfully completed the odyssey. We are happy to boast that the students not only enjoyed the experience but they also demonstrated a real interest in what it takes to work in an outdoor/environmental career. The Project SOLO students learned some possibilities for their own futures.
Nativity Field Day
On October 4, SHA took Nativity High School’s senior environmental science class, led by teacher Danielle Fox, to the Silver Creek Environmental Education Trail & Recreation Park to learn about water quality testing and local abandoned mine drainage (AMD) issues. The class tested multiple parameters at the beginning and end of the discharge site and were given worksheets with questions designed to help the students understand the relationship of those parameters to aquatic life. Students then ventured downstream to see the work SHA did in partnership with Schuylkill County Chapter Trout Unlimited on the new fish habitat construction in the Schuylkill River near New Philadelphia. This field day allowed students to take a needed break for fresh air from the classroom but most importantly helped them to understand the whole AMD remediation process.
Our very own president, Bill Reichert, recently received a Partnership Award at the 26th annual Evening for Northeast Pennsylvania’s Environment Banquet at the Woodlands Inn and Resort, Wilkes-Barre. Bill received the award for leading water quality improvement efforts in the Schuylkill River watershed. Schuylkill County Commissioners George F. Halcovage, Jr., Frank J. Staudenmeier and Gary Hess also presented Bill with a proclamation at the Schuylkill County Courthouse for receiving the Partnership Award. See Link Below:
SHA and its VISTA program have also had some recent publicity (including the award article link above).
SHA helped install street art decals for a student’s contest-winning design through the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary. See Links Below:
The Republican Herald did a story highlighting the VISTA program for SHA and Schuylkill County. The story features previous VISTAs, SHA’s current outreach coordinator, Alexa Kramer, who served as last year’s VISTA and SHA’s current VISTA, Nate Hafer. See Link Below:
Cub Scouts Port Carbon Pack 604
On October 1st Port Carbon 604 Cub Scout Pack came to the Silver Creek Environmental Education Trail & Recreation Park. The scouts planted native plants in the rain garden and cleaned out the blue bird boxes for the season. The Cub Scouts enjoyed a day out with a hands-on experience of community service. SHA would like to thank Port Carbon’s Pack 604 for 4 years of continued help on this and various other projects.