Film, discussion panel and numerous other river-inspired activities spark success of Clean Water Celebration
Three-year-old Weston Horst, of Lancaster, peered with fascination through a bright green plastic ring holding a magnifying lens over a tiny macroinvertebrate bug.
About 50 yards downstream along the bank of Bull Run, several dozen people sat on stumps and rocks in the nature play area of Lewisburg's Kidsburg Park to hear presenters talk about the award-winning stream restoration and naturalization project.
Meanwhile, between those two events, three Selinsgrove Cub Scouts (Liam Crames and William and Matthew Pugh) helped hide prizes in a large playground for a scavenger hunt that drew nearly 30 kids.
A few hours later, a line of people walked Lewisburg's Campus Theatre's red carpet for an exclusive screening of the documentary "American River" with filmmaker Scott Morris and five regional river experts discussing the film and answering questions about major issues threatening our watershed.
These were just some of the opportunities to learn more about our river, connect with groups that share a passion for our aquatic resources and discover how to get involved and make a difference via the Middle Susquehanna Riverkeeper Association's Clean Water Celebration on Oct. 15, 2022, in downtown Lewisburg.
The day kicked off at 10 a.m. with a wide variety of informational tables, some with hands-on activities, representing the Eastern PA Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation, Susquehanna Greenway Partnership, Susquehanna University Freshwater Research Institute, Merrill Linn Conservancy, Buffalo Creek Restoration Alliance, North Central PA Group of the Sierra Club and the Boy Scouts of America.
At 10:15 a.m., landscape architect Brian Auman kicked off a presentation about the Bull Run restoration project, the importance of naturalizing the waterway, improving access and recreational opportunities and enhancing the flood plain through the otherwise urban stretch of stream. He was joined by several other presenters, including David Staebler, of the Buffalo Creek Watershed Alliance, on what is next for this project and how people can get involved to make a difference.
At 10:50 a.m., nearly 30 kids participated in a playground scavenger hunt for prizes organized by association board member Marissa Crames, volunteer Maureen Pugh, and their three sons, who are all members of the Selinsgrove Cub Scout Pack.
At 11 a.m., association student board members and representatives of the Susquehanna Freshwater Research Institute Danielle Tryon and Morgan Thomas ran a presentation on trout habitat, watersheds and curbing pollution that was designed for kids and their families.
At noon, the event transitioned to the Campus Theatre for the screening of "American River" with filmmaker Scott Morris. Before the film began, the audience was shown three promotional videos ... one for the Middle Susquehanna Riverkeeper Association, one for Michael Kinney's Get Lost Photography and one for the Wild Trout Man series.
Also, the association unveiled what will be a new annual award within the greater 11,000 square-mile middle Susquehanna watershed. The Kathleen A. Snavely Susquehanna River
Environmental Advocate Award was created and awarded to soon-to-be outgoing board president Kathy Snavely for her tireless dedication to keeping the association afloat and championing clean water initiatives across the region. Moving forward, each year, a new recipient who embodies the same sort of passion and production will be honored with the award, as chosen by the association's board of directors.
After a brief introduction by filmmaker Scott Morris, the audience watched the full 86-minute "American River" documentary about the Passaic River in northern New Jersey, with a focus on issues that impact rivers across the world.
Immediately after the film, a panel discussion began including moderator John Zaktansky, filmmaker Scott Morris and five experts of the Susquehanna River: Bobby Hughes of the Eastern PA Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation, Alana Jajko of the Susquehanna Greenway Partnership, Melvin Zimmerman of Lycoming College's Clean Water Institute, Matt Wilson of Susquehanna University's Freshwater Research Institute and Jamie Shallenberger of the Susquehanna River Basin Commission.
Topics covered in the panel discussion included urban stormwater issues, agricultural runoff, acid mine drainage, river access and greenway development, industrial effluent, dams and their impacts on migrating fish species, and much more.
Beyond the association's board and partner organizations in attendance, special thanks go out to Paige Zaktansky and Michael Kinney for putting in a full day of work to make this day a success.
Below, you can check out more than 100 images from the event. If you'd like to learn more about our river and the issues we face, check back often to the Middle Susquehanna Riverkeeper blog feed. We will soon have a link up where you can purchase one of our newly designed T-shirts for $15 each, with all proceeds benefiting the association.
We'd love to hear your story and get you involved with our work ... you can start that process by taking our online Susquehanna Survey.
You can connect directly with Middle Susquehanna Riverkeeper John Zaktansky to report a concern, ask a question or get involved by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
The following photos were taken by photographer and videographer Michael Kinney.
The following images were taken and shared with the association by Maureen Pugh, who helped throughout the day:
John Zaktansky is an award-winning journalist and avid promoter of the outdoors who loves camping, kayaking, fishing and hunting with the family.