Ecology Day Turns a Spotlight on the Susquehanna
Aug 13, 2015 07:51AM
● By Erica Shames
In 2011, the Susquehanna River was named the most endangered river by American Rivers. Since then, more attention is focused on preserving the river and educating people about the various dangers to the ecosystem.
For the past four years, Ecology Day has been held at Penn’s Creek in New Berlin. This year it was held on the banks of the Susquehanna River in Selinsgrove through the help and coordination of Jessie Runkle, Deputy Zoning Officer, Selinsgrove Borough.
Volunteers from the Merrill W. Linn Land & Waterways Conservancy and the Freshwater Research Initiative from Susquehanna University were on hand. Students and professors helped participants collect animals and other specimens from the river and educated them about their findings. Using microscopes, participants could gain an up-close look at what they had collected.
“We hope to instruct citizens and their children about what organisms are in the river and why those organisms are important to the ecology of the area and to them in their everyday lives as many communities use the river for drinking water and other uses,” explained Dr. Jonathan Niles, professor at Susquehanna University.
The event was also designed to gauge the interest of Selinsgrove residents as the borough is considering creating an ecology center beside the Susquehanna River. This center would facilitate collaboration with other organizations interested in water conservation and allow for more extensive research. Ideally, construction would begin by 2017.
A free lunch was made available through donations by Weis Markets, Walmart, Target, Giant, and Middleswarth Chips. Other organizations that helped to make the day possible included the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, Snyder County Conservation District, Lower Penn’s Creek Watershed Association, Susquehanna University, and the Borough of Selinsgrove.
Written by Chelsea Ritter