Tickets added to Floating Classroom sessions on paddleboat, 'Raptors on the River' class joins 2021 lineup
I wasn't sure what to expect as I pulled into the parking lot aside an illuminated Hiawatha Paddleboat framed by an otherwise pitch-black background one would expect at 4 a.m. in the morning.
Invited to join a special WNEP TV "Live with Leckey" sunrise broadcoast to help promote the Memorial Day weekend kickoff of the Hiawatha's summer schedule -- and our upcoming Floating Classroom sessions -- I quickly met up with longtime boat captain Mike Strunk, Hiawatha jack-of-all-trade Kim Cillo, Leckey, his cameraman and a few others promoting various themed floats.
We want kids and their families to fall in love with our river-based resources, for an experience that sparks a lifelong passion and vested interest in the next generation of stewards. Where better to engage that interest than via environmentally focused classes while paddle-boating along the river?
This summer, there are six opportunities to do so, starting with a float focused on macroinvertebrates on Tuesday, July 6, from 10-11 a.m. Representatives of the Alliance of Aquatic Resource Monitoring (ALLARM) out of Dickinson College will provide an overview session on common "macros" from throughout our watershed. Other sessions include an overview of snake species along with some uplifting songs from local musician KJ Reimensnyder-Wagner on Aug. 3, an overview of common fish species with naturalist Jon Beam on Aug. 10, a look at important river-based history via John Moore and Van Wagner on Aug. 17 and an overview of amphibians with a focus on the hellbender on Sept. 7.
Unfortunately, a previously scheduled session on microplastics set for Sept. 21 had to be changed. We are now offering a "Raptors on the River" program by local falconer Mike Dupuy instead on that date.
Thanks to changes in restrictions surrounding the coronavirus pandemic, we are able to increase our ticket availability for each float, meaning sessions that were previously sold out now have a limited number of tickets.
For more information and to register/purchase your tickets, visit www.middlesusquehannariverkeeper.org/floating-classroom.html
The Hiawatha is proof that not every classroom has four walls. Some, thankfully, come equipped with a bright red paddle wheel, and gorgeous perspective of the Susquehanna River.
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John Zaktansky is an award-winning journalist and avid promoter of the outdoors who loves camping, kayaking, fishing and hunting with the family.