Monday, February 26, 2024

Slippery Rock Watershed Coalition: Volunteers Make Jennings Environmental Ed Center Improving The Prairie Day A Success!

The latest
edition of The Catalyst from the Butler County-based Slippery Rock Watershed Coalition features articles on Improving The Prairie Day and new employee Natalie Lamagna.  Kids!  Don’t forget the Super Solar Eclipse Word Search!

Improving The Prairie

On Saturday, January 20, 2024, DCNR's Jennings Environmental Education Center [nearly Slippery Rock in Butler County] held the 23rd annual Prairie Improvement Day. 

It was a day when upwards of 80 members of the community pitched in to assist with resource management in the prairie [the only prairie ecosystem in Pennsylvania]. 

By removing shrubs and other woody growth that is competing with the native wildflowers and grasses, volunteer workers helped to ensure the prairie remains open and a viable habitat for the various plants and animals that call it home.

This unique prairie ecosystem is home to the blazing star flower (Liatrus spicata) and the endangered eastern massasauga rattlesnake (Sistrurus catenatus). 

These species, and many others, are shade intolerant and depend on full sun for growth and regulating body temperatures. 

The work completed during this year’s Prairie Improvement Day will be apparent in late July and early August when the prairie is in full bloom.

All those who dedicated their time and efforts were thanked with a customized soup mug to take home and a buffet featuring 15 different types of soups generously donated by local restaurants, volunteers and park staff. 

Thank you to everyone who attended and made the event a success! 

An extra special “Thank you” to Prospect BSA Troop 33 who showed up before daylight to prepare everyone hearty breakfast sandwiches. 

Celebrate The Bloom

DCNR’s Jennings Environmental Ed Center will hold its annual Celebrate the Bloom of the blazing star on July 27.  Click Here to sign up for updates on the celebration.

Natalie Lamagna

[Nonprofit] Stream Restoration Incorporated hired their newest environmental scientist, Natalie Lamagna, who started working for SRI this past August 2023. 

Natalie is excited to be involved in a variety of watershed restoration projects and has had an interest in abandoned mine drainage ever since she completed an internship focusing on AMD pollution. 

As part of the internship, she participated in SRI’s 2020 Statewide AMD Passive Treatment Snapshot project which involved sampling of streams and passive treatment systems. 

Prior to working at SRI, Natalie received her Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science from Saint Vincent College and received her Masters of Science in Environmental Science & Management from Duquesne University. 

Natalie did research in Dr. Trun’s lab at Duquesne where she studied the abundance and role of sulfur reducing bacteria in AMD passive treatment systems. 

Natalie had presented some of her research at two of the Westminster College and SRWC “Student Symposium on the Environment” events as an undergraduate and graduate student. 

In December 2020, she participated in the virtual event on “Phosphorus Adsorption to Iron Precipitates from AMD.” 

At the December 2022 event, she gave a poster presentation entitled “Microbial Sulfate Reduction in Acidic and Circumneutral AMD Passive Remediation Systems.” 

She says her favorite part of the job so far is getting out in the field as well as meeting different watershed groups. 

When not on the job, Natalie may still be spotted by water doing hobbies such as fishing, canoeing, and just enjoying the outdoors. 

SRI and the SRWC are excited to have Natalie a part of our team! 

Click Here to read the entire newsletterClick Here to sign up for your own copy.

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: February 26, 2024]  PA Environment Digest

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