The 2021 Songs of the Susquehanna project drew 46 original song submissions inspired by the river, inspiring nearly 200 people to cast 1,152 "votes" to help us decide which of those songs made our final playlist. One of the most popular songs across the board has been "Return to Blue" by Johanna Kodlick. Below, she shares her story of the sad COVID-laced inspiration behind the song and the therapy she found along our waterways.
In March of 2020 things turned dark.
One week after the COVID lockdown went into effect; my father called and said he needed help. He knew his health had taken a turn for the worse, and he could no longer stay at home alone.
Riverkeeper talks Talen & Montour Preserve agreement, preps for next steps in water quality, preserve work
Last March, the Middle Susquehanna Riverkeeper Association received a call from a much larger environmental group about a settlement discussion involving Talen Energy’s Montour power plant.
They wanted to bring a local group into the process – a group with a vested interest in the local communities and natural resources of the region.
Local ties and connections were not a problem for me, personally. I grew up on a small farm less than 10 miles from the plant. Classmates and close friends live in the nearby towns of Washingtonville and Exchange. My first real job was watering plants and shading mums at what was then called Bryfogles Greenhouse on a property adjacent to the coal-burning facility. My family and Scout troop savored all the natural treasures of the nearby Montour Preserve and 165-acre Lake Chillisquaque via camping, fishing and fossil exploration trips. I even competed in a state Envirothon hosted at the preserve. The facility was woven into the fabric of my youth.
Top 10 reasons you should support the Middle Susquehanna Riverkeeper Association in Raise the Region 2021
My first experience with Raise the Region last year proved to be intimidating.
Hundreds of area nonprofits all “compete” for donations during a 30-hour blitz. While being around so many similar-minded individuals during some of the in-person programming offered some positive camaraderie and networking opportunities, it also highlighted a major moral issue.
How does anyone decide which nonprofit to support? There are so many worthy causes, inspiring stories and reasons to provide real support to groups making a difference in our community.
To date, the Middle Susquehanna Riverkeeper Podcast has provided 30 weekly interviews with people who share a passion for our river-based resources.
Educators, business owners, biologists, camp directors, environmental nonprofit executives, politicians, technology and social media influences, a SCUBA instructor, a falconer, a water specialist, a veterinarian and even a musician. More than 8 hours of combined audio conversations about protecting and promoting our river from a wide variety of backgrounds and skill sets.
A common denominator among pretty much the entire group -- beyond their shared appreciation for our natural resources? Memories of exploring the outdoors as a child. Fishing, hiking, creek stomping, camping, hunting, boating and more.
It was all a matter of perspective.
To the six young children, the muddy, clay-bottomed stream that wound through a number of campsites at the Central Pennsylvania Wesleyan Campground offered an opportunity to play — to stretch their imaginations and then put their plans into action, building a small dam and exploring for crayfish and other critters during the excavation process.
In this week's episode of the Middle Susquehanna Riverkeeper Podcast, Pennsylvania Master Naturalist Program President and Director Michele Richards talks about what it means to be a master naturalist, how the program was formed and some of the many ways the naturalist family is making a difference.
Focused on an intensive college-like 50-hour core training, continued education requirements each year afterward and expectations for service hours in a variety of areas, the growing family of Pennsylvania Master Naturalists have impacted many facets of our important natural resources.
Conservation groups filed a formal notice of intent today to sue the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service over its decision in April 2019 to deny Endangered Species Act protection to eastern hellbenders. These river-dwelling salamanders can grow longer than 2 feet and live in clear, fast-flowing mountain streams in 15 southeastern, midwestern and northeastern states. They have now been eliminated from much of their historic range.
“Hellbenders are under pressure from a multitude of threats throughout their range, and those threats are only expected to worsen in the coming years,” said Brian Segee, a senior attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity. “Until it’s reversed, the denial of protection to these endearing salamanders will doom them to continue on a path toward extinction.”
The owners of the Montour Power Plant signed a settlement agreement with a clean water organization today that pledges to close a coal ash waste disposal site and donate a 165-acre lake, 640-acre nature preserve and $1.2 million to conservation efforts.
Talen Energy signed the agreement with the Middle Susquehanna Riverkeeper Association, represented by attorneys at the Environmental Integrity Project, to address reported pollution from an ash dump adjacent to the company’s 49-year-old coal-fired power plant, located an hour north of Harrisburg.
John Zaktansky is an award-winning journalist and avid promoter of the outdoors who loves camping, kayaking, fishing and hunting with the family.