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Susquehanna Life

Life Around the River: The Make-A-Choice Initiative, HeritagePA's 5th Friday Celebrations & More

Nov 17, 2017 12:14PM ● By Melanie Heisinger

Pennsylvania Grand Canyon, Wellsboro, PA. Part of the Lumber Heritage Region. Courtesy of Penn Wells Hotel.

Combatting Diabetes and Obesity

The statistics are staggering:  78,000 Pennsylvanians are diagnosed with diabetes every year and 3.5 million Pennsylvanians have prediabetes.  Pennsylvania now has the 24th-highest adult obesity rate in the nation. 

The Make-A-Choice initiative features stories of real people in Pennsylvania making a choice to live healthier after being diagnosed with diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity or all of the above. Their impactful stories are at The hope is their stories will motivate and inspire others to do the same. is part of a statewide initiative to promote healthy living, physical activity and weight management to prevent and manage prediabetes, Type 2 diabetes and obesity. The initiative culminates with Wellness Challenge events, featuring fitness and transformation motivator Shaun T, during National Diabetes Awareness Month in November. Registration is available at

Kids Ski Free

Fourth and 5th graders can enjoy skiing and snowboarding free this winter in and around Pennsylvania.
For the 14th year, the Pennsylvania Ski Areas Association is making available the Snowpass, which allows 4th and 5th graders to hit the slopes free, up to three times at each participating resort, when accompanied by a paying adult. Additionally, 4th and 5th graders can take advantage of a beginner lift, lesson and rental package free and an accompanying adult takes 50 percent off a beginner lift, lesson and rental package.
“Fourth and 5th graders are at the ideal age to learn a new sport with ease and to excel rapidly,” said PSAA executive director Linda Irvin. “Through the Snowpass Program, an on-mountain experience, students also can witness lessons of their 4th & 5th grade science studies in action, including water
resources at work, geology structure and the physics of lift mechanics.”
Skiing and snowboarding offer families the opportunity to exercise outside together. A 90-pound youth can burn between 200 and 300 calories per hour skiing and/or snowboarding depending on their activity level. Skiing and snowboarding are listed among the activities included in the President’s Challenge organized by the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition. Children and adults can earn points toward a Presidential Active Lifestyle Award by skiing and snowboarding. Nineteen ski/snowboard resorts across Pennsylvania belong to the Snowpass program.

More information is at

A Museum for Children in Lewisburg

Located at the GreenSpace Center, formerly the Lewisburg Area High School, Lewisburg Children’s Museum renovated 9,000-square-feet of the second floor to create nine interactive and educational exhibits including: Creation Station; Dig It; Farm to Food; Farmer’s Field; Weis Grocery Store; Bodyworks by Evangelical Community Hospital; Play Café; Playtime Theater; and Science & Space Exploration, complete with Mission Control.

Children can explore outer space, play doctor for the day, dig for treasure, go grocery shopping (with kid-sized carts), create their own artwork and more.

“In January 2016, Lewisburg Children’s Museum was a brilliant and ambitious idea between two friends,” said Abby Gulden-Luthi, executive director, Lewisburg Children’s Museum. “We believed having a children’s museum in this space allows the building to continue to serve the community as well as provide educational value.” 

In addition to exhibits, Lewisburg Children’s Museum offers Spanish, art and music classes, monthly Saturday Storytimes, field trips, birthday parties and special events like its annual Munchkins & Pumpkins and New Year’s Eve Kids’ Party.

“Our goal was to create a space that really encourages children to imagine, explore and learn, and to provide experiences that spark their curiosity,” said Erin Jablonski, board president, Lewisburg Children’s Museum. “We designed exhibits that highlight agriculture, farm-to-table eating, the Susquehanna River and more. We look forward to continuously incorporating new exhibits to foster educational engagement through play.”

More information is at

Heritage Celebrations


Five Fridays in one month only occurs a few times a year, and HeritagePA is using those days to encourage Pennsylvanians to take in the history and heritage of their region. During each 5th Friday through the end of 2018, there will be community events held throughout the different heritage areas.

“Our state’s 12 unique heritage areas are not only teeming with history and heritage, but with plenty of things to do,” said Jane Sheffield, president, HeritagePA. “Our 5th Friday celebrations are just one way we are continuing to educate and bring communities together.”

Upcoming 5th Fridays will take place at HeritagePA’s 12 state-designated heritage areas: Oil Region; Lumber; PA Route 6; Endless Mountains; Lackawanna; Delaware & Lehigh; Schuylkill River; Susquehanna; Allegheny Ridge; Lincoln Highway; Rivers of Steel; and National Road. HeritagePA serves as the collective voice that speaks to the importance of heritage areas—how they bring Pennsylvania’s history and natural resources to life, and breathe new life into the state’s economy and sense of community.

Dates for 5th Fridays are: December 29, 2017; and, in 2018: March 30; June 29; August 31; November 30. More information is at

Our Place in the National Story

Susquehanna Heritage, a regional non-profit organization and Pennsylvania Heritage Area collaborating with local, state and national partners to connect people to the Susquehanna River and its history in York and Lancaster counties, is seeking National Heritage Area designation these two counties by the U.S. Congress.

National Heritage Area designation is an important step for advancing heritage and outdoor tourism in the region. National recognition can boost visibility and visitation, bring critical National Park Service support and further promote the Susquehanna River—its scenic riverlands, vibrant river towns and significance to the nation’s history. This designation would create an affiliation with a network of 49 existing National Heritage Areas across the United States.

As a result of Susquehanna Heritage’s local community engagement process and a National Heritage Area Feasibility Study Report in 2008, The National Park Service determined that this region meets the criteria for Congressional designation as a National Heritage Area.

In Feb. 2017, U.S. Sen. Robert P. Casey introduced S.400, the Susquehanna National Heritage Area Act, to designate Lancaster and York counties as America’s 50th National Heritage Area. In June 2017, U.S. Rep. Lloyd Smucker, with U.S. Rep. Scott Perry and U.S. Rep. Pat Meehan, introduced H.R. 2991 to establish the Susquehanna National Heritage Area Act. This legislation is a companion to Sen. Casey’s bill (S.400).

More information is at

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