Reflections from River Festival 2021: Connections create a vested interest in species, efforts to protect river
“Is that some sort of alligator?”
The asker – a 20-something-year-old young man wearing a Brooklyn Nets jersey – hesitated several yards from the Middle Susquehanna Riverkeeper Association table at last weekend’s Sunbury River Festival before asking a follow-up question.
“Is it alive?”
Simple creature identification can be a fun way to engage ourselves and others to our natural resources, and something in which we can always be learning.
An example: One of our creek-borne stowaways in the crayfish display was a large snail, which I mis-identified as an apple snail to someone who stopped by. Thankfully, Mike Bilger was nearby to correct my mistake, which helped re-spark my research into snail ID and leading me to find some other cool facts I never previously knew.
In similar fashion, I would imagine that people who visited our booth at the Sunbury River Festival will look twice the next time they see a crayfish for the distinguishing characteristics of the rusty species. I hope the same people will have a better appreciate of the plight of the hellbender the next time the state amphibian’s name comes up in a conversation.
Along the same lines, we are excited about the vested interest we have developed with people of all backgrounds and interests through events such as the Sunbury River Festival – and the potential these new contacts have in partnering with us to better protect and promote our vast number of river-based resources.
For more information on how you can get involved, send Riverkeeper John Zaktansky an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
John Zaktansky is an award-winning journalist and avid promoter of the outdoors who loves camping, kayaking, fishing and hunting with the family.