Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Slippery Rock Watershed Coalition: Jennings Environmental Center, 3MJC Host Historic Foltz One Room School Open House Events; Mine Drainage Treatment At Slippery Rock U.

May Catalyst newsletter from the Butler County-based Slippery Rock Watershed Coalition features articles on upcoming Foltz One Room School open house events at the Jennings Environmental Center and an overview of a presentation on acid mine drainage treatment at Slippery Rock University.

Foltz One Room School

Jennings Environmental Education Center and 3MJC [Moraine, McConnells Mill and Jennings Commission] are opening the doors of the historic Foltz School to visitors this summer and fall for a series of open house-style days. 

This quaint and recently restored one-room schoolhouse is nestled on the edge of JEEC, along route 8. 

Each open day will have its own theme, allowing visitors to experience a number of different activities and information when they visit. No fee or registration is required to attend. Parking and restrooms will be available onsite during open hours. 

These open days are a unique opportunity for individuals of all ages to experience a piece of history and gain insight into what life was like for students attending a one-room school in the past. 

Upon arrival, visitors will be greeted by knowledgeable volunteers who will provide brief overviews of the school's history and answer any questions guests may have. 

The Foltz School has a rich history dating back to the late 1800s and visitors will have the opportunity to learn about its origins, its role in the local community, and how it operated as a one-room schoolhouse.

In addition to the volunteer-led overviews, visitors will be able to engage in self-guided interactive activities, designed to provide a hands-on experience of what it was like to be a student in a one-room schoolhouse, and that reveal the differences and similarities between schooling yesterday and today. 

As visitors explore the schoolhouse, they will have the opportunity to view authentic artifacts from the time period, such as antique desks, textbooks, and school supplies. They will also be able to see how the building has been preserved and restored to maintain its historical integrity.

Jennings' staff had long desired to restore the old, abandoned, one-room schoolhouse, which operated from 1880-1963, and utilize it as a museum of early local education history and culture and environmental education. 

Stream Restoration Incorporated (SRI) and the Slippery Rock Watershed Coalition (SRWC) received an Abandoned Mine Land Economic Revitalization (AMLER) grant from the PA DEP to complete a multi-faceted project consisting of three sub-projects on public lands, one of which was the Foltz School improvements.

The all-volunteer community organization Moraine, McConnells Mill and Jennings Commission (3MJC) was invaluable in the efforts to restore the schoolhouse. 

The school’s interior and exterior were renovated, including electric heaters, insulation in walls and ceiling, wainscoting, drywall, trim, replica antique light fixtures, shutters, interior and exterior paint, driveway, and parking improvements. 

The photo montage below shows the appearance of the school house over a span of over 100 years. Be sure to come visit on an open house day for a unique experience and amazing step back in time.

Open House Dates:

-- Sun. June 11 — 10 AM to 3 PM

-- Sun. July 9 — 10 AM to 3 PM

-- Thurs. Aug. 3 — 3 PM to 8 PM

-- Sun. Aug. 13 — 10 AM to 3 PM

-- Sat. Sept. 2 — 10 AM to 3 PM

-- Sun. Sept. 10 — 10 AM to 3 PM

-- Sun. Oct. 8 — 10 AM to 3 PM

-- Wed. Oct. 18 — 10 AM to 3 PM  

[Click Here for more information on the Foltz School restoration.]

Slippery Rock University Presentation

On March 23rd, Slippery Rock Watershed Coalition (SRWC) participant Cliff Denholm of Stream Restoration Incorporated (SRI) was invited to give a presentation at Slippery Rock University’s Geography, Geology, and Environment Club (GGE) meeting.

 Cliff was asked by the group to give a presentation about the work that the SRWC and SRI have been working on in the headwaters of Slippery Rock Creek.

Cliff started his presentation with an overview of the formation of acid mine drainage (AMD), differences between historic and modern methods of coal mining, land reclamation, and explanations of active and passive treatment systems. 

He then went on to discuss the work of the SRWC before delving into some specific projects that the SRWC has been working on the last few years as well as future plans.

Cliff explained how the North Country Trail (NCT) passes beside or, in some cases, directly through several passive [mine drainage treatment] systems, including SR81, Ferris Complex, SR101A, SR109, and SR114. Cliff discussed the designs and water quality of the treatment systems as well as the current ongoing efforts to rehabilitate several of those treatment systems through funding from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection’s Growing Greener program and the US Office of Surface Mine Watershed Cooperative Agreement Program (WCAP). 

In addition, the SRWC had received a grant through the Abandoned Mine Land Economic Revitalization Program that included funding for trail improvements along the NCT which the Butler County Chapter of the NCT completed last year and work by the 3MJC and Jennings Environmental Education Center to restore the Foltz School House (see above).

As part of this project, the Ferris West system was completely rebuilt while maintenance was performed on the Ferris East system. 

At the SR101A system a sludge pond was constructed, and the settling pond and wetlands were cleaned and ready to remove more iron. 

You can read more about these efforts in past Catalyst issues. 

This year we will be rebuilding the SR81, SR114B, and SR114D treatment systems. Look for more articles about these projects in the coming months.

The students seemed very interested and asked excellent questions. Cliff was happy to give a presentation at his alma mater where he first got involved with the SRWC many years ago. 

Click Here to read the entire newsletter, see more photos and have students finish the special KIDS Catalyst May Flowers Word Search!

For more information on programs, projects, upcoming events and how you can get involved, visit the Slippery Rock Watershed Coalition website.  Follow them on FacebookClick Here to sign up to sign up for regular updates.

The Butler County-based Coalition was established in 1994 to restore land, water and wildlife resources in the Slippery Rock Watershed.

[Posted: May 30, 2023]  PA Environment Digest

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