Thursday, September 21, 2023

Master Watershed Stewards Celebrate 10 Years Of Making A Difference

Brad Kinsman, Water Educator, and Erin Frederick, Master Watershed Steward Coordinator

The Penn State Master Watershed Steward Program started its first class in 2013 in Lehigh and Northampton counties. Ten years later, the program now spans 42 counties across Pennsylvania with 966 volunteers. 

Volunteers have logged over 136,800 volunteer hours educating residents about water resources and implementing best management practices.

In that time, they've:

-- Planted 49,292 trees

-- Connected with 314 partners

-- Restored 384.5 acres of habitat

-- Dispersed 1,266 rain barrels

-- Educated 350,369 people

-- Set up displays at 620 community events

-- Organized 202 workshops

-- Gave 297 presentations

-- Wrote 115 educational articles

-- Constructed 85 rain gardens and 21 Live Stake Nurseries

August Retreat

To celebrate, 90 Master Watershed Stewards, staff and partners attended a retreat in State College, August 25-27, themed around the Pennsylvania WILDs conservation landscape.  

Attendees who arrived early participated in a water and the arts program, leaning how watersheds can influence artistic talents. 

The retreat commenced with acknowledgements from Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences Dean Richard Roush and Penn State Extension's Interim Director, Katherine Cason. 

Throughout the day stewards learned about native meadow establishment, nature journaling, pond maintenance, youth programming, aquatic invasive species, phenology tracking, and more! 

They also had an opportunity to attend seminars on wheels throughout the PA WILDs touring Penn State's Living Filter, Bald Eagle State Park, Black Moshannon State Park, and Elk Country

Upon their return to the conference center, there was a celebratory Taste of State College reception and a TapTalk: "Welcome to the WILDs" delivered by the PA WILDS Center. 

To wind down, participants could take part in various Sunday morning sessions which included a Mount Nittany hike, a Penn State Arboretum tour, a program at the Deibler Tract Research Buffer, and a paddling opportunity on Black Moshannon Lake.

The Watershed Wanderers challenge was put in place over the summer to encourage Master Watershed Steward volunteers to get out and enjoy the natural world. Stewards logged their time outside, shared photos and perspectives, and won prizes for top achievements.  

A total of 60 Stewards participated, logging 1,721.9 hours wandering in 82 subwatersheds in all 5 major watersheds basins across Pennsylvania.

[Visit the Penn State Master Watershed Steward Program webpage for more information on this volunteer program.]

(Reprinted from the latest Penn State Extension Watershed Winds newsletterClick Here to sign up for your own copy- bottom of page.)

Upcoming Extension Educational Opportunities:

-- September 28: Dive Deeper Water Education Summit - Harrisburg

-- September 30: Riparian Buffer Maintenance - Dauphin County

-- October 4: Webinar - On-Lot Septic Systems and Groundwater Quality

-- October 28: Water Ways On Wheels - A Bike Tour In Lancaster County

-- October 30: Safe Drinking Water Clinic - Private Water Wells - Forest County

-- November 8: Webinar - Nitrogen In Groundwater, Where It Comes From, Health Risks

-- Penn State Extension Online Water Courses

Related Articles - Penn State Extension:

-- Celebrate Riparian Buffers Month In October!  With Penn State Extension, Chesapeake Conservation Landscaping Council, Penn State Agriculture & Environment Center  [PaEN] 

-- Master Watershed Stewards Celebrate 10 Years Of Making A Difference  [PaEN] 

-- Penn State Master Watershed Steward Coordinator Erin Frederick Honored By Lehigh Valley Business Council  [PaEN] 

-- Penn State Extension Future Master Watershed Steward Program Scaling Up  [PaEN] 

-- Introduce Students Ages 8-10 On How They Can Be Stream Doctors In The New Book -- Brooke Meets A Stream Doctor  [PaEN] 

Related Articles:

-- Register Now!  PA Statewide Watershed Conference Oct. 29-30 In Altoona  [PaEN]

-- DEP Blog: Abandoned Coal Mine Reforestation Initiatives Healing The Land  [PaEN]

-- ClearWater Conservancy’s Deb Nardone Resigns As Executive Director To Step Into The Role Of Executive Director For Foundation For PA Watersheds  [PaEN]

-- 17 PA Farmers, Organizations, Businesses Call On Congress To Expand Support For Agroforestry  [PaEN] 

-- Penn State Research: 87% Of Rivers, Streams Rapidly Warming, 70% Losing Oxygen; Aquatic Life May Be At Risk, Study Finds  [PaEN] 

-- DEP To Increase Monitoring, Develop Surface Water Standard For PFAS 'Forever Chemicals' After Study Shows 76% Of Streams, Rivers Contained At Least One Of These Chemicals  [PaEN]

-- DEP: Widespread Presence Of PFAS ‘Forever Chemicals’ In Fresh Water Leading Shale Gas Operators To Use Contaminated Water In Fracking Operations; DEP Doesn’t Require Routine PFAS Testing  [PaEN]

-- Forbes Trail Chapter Trout Unlimited Host Military Veterans And First Responders At Trout Fishing Event In Westmoreland County  [PaEN]

[Posted: September 21, 2023]  PA Environment Digest

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