More than 60 people participated in the first Middle Susquehanna Riverkeeper Floating Classroom of the 2022 summer season on June 28 aboard the Hiawatha Paddleboat in Williamsport, with a focus on aquatic mammals.
Bert Myers, the head of the state's Department of Environmental Protection's educational programming, presented on the upper level of the boat about five species associated with our waterways, including the raccoon, muskrat, beaver, mink and otter. His presentation:
On the lower level, landscape architect Brian Auman discussed natural vs. manmade impacts on streambanks, flood plains and how the beaver specifically plays a role in this process and the potential long-range improvements they can have on returning our waterways to a more natural state. His presentation:
Some photos from the June 28 Floating Classroom:
Upcoming floating classrooms:
For more info on our Floating Classrooms and to buy tickets while they are still in stock, go to www.MiddleSusquehannaRiverkeeper.org/floating-classroom.html
JULY 12: MINING HERITAGE AND AMD ISSUES
Join former Pennsylvania coal miner Van Wagner for interpretive program about the human story behind coal. Who were the people who mined (and still mine) coal? Where are the coal regions found? A little bit of music and a lot of history will make for a special program on the Susquehanna. Meanwhile, Bobby Hughes, the executive director of the Eastern PA Coalition of Abandoned Mine Reclamation, will offer a presentation of current issues related to Abandoned Mine Drainage. Session runs from 10-11 a.m.
JULY 19: MICROPLASTICS & FISH ANATOMY
Kim Dagen, environmental scientist with the Susquehanna River Basin Commission, shares an overview on plastics found in the river, the sampling equipment used and hands-on experiments that demonstrate some of the issues related to microplastics in our waterways. Meanwhile, USGS research fisheries biologist Vicki Blazer will discuss general fish anatomy via a dissection demonstration of fish health methods . Session runs from 10-11 a.m.
AUG. 2: BATS OF OUR WATERSHED (SOLD OUT!)
Pennsylvania Game Commission biologist talks about the importance of bat species in our watershed, how they impact our aquatic ecosystem and we will review different bat species' identification and characteristics. ** No more tickets are available for this cruise.
AUG. 16: INVASIVE INVADERS
Dr. Megan Kepler Schall, Assistant Professor Biology at Penn State-Hazelton, will lead presentations on common aquatic invasive species that threaten our watershed including the flathead catfish, snakehead and rusty crayfish.
SEPT. 10: AQUATIC PHOTOGRAPHY, VIDEOGRAPHY
Dr. Joseph Simons, vice president of the Middle Susquehanna Riverkeeper Association and pioneer of the Wild Trout Man video series, will join photographer/videographer Michael Kinney in presentations about their work with tips on how to improve your own photography/videography of our outdoor resources.
SEPT. 13: FLOODING IMPACTS
This year is the 50th anniversary of the devastating Agnes flooding throughout the region. This session will offer a look back at the historical elements of the flood with a presentation by Bucknell University's Andrew Stuhl, and how flooding events impact aquatic ecosystems as demonstrated through a floodplain simulation model run by the Susquehanna River Basin Commission's Graham Markowitz and Ben Pratt.
SEPT. 27: FLEX THOSE MUSSELS!
Sean Reese, program scientist with Bucknell University's Watershed Sciences and Engineering Program, will lead a presentation on freshwater mussel life cycles, their importance in aquatic ecosystems along with some implications for their conservation along with a demonstration of their filtration capacity. Another presentation onboard will focus on identification and invasive species concerns.
John Zaktansky is an award-winning journalist and avid promoter of the outdoors who loves camping, kayaking, fishing and hunting with the family.