Middle Susquehanna Riverkeeper Association offers environmental education ‘Floating Classroom’sessions this summer

The Middle Susquehanna Riverkeeper Association has announced eight Floating Classroom sessions aboard the Hiawatha Paddleboat in Williamsport for the 2022 summer season. Registration and tickets are now available, while supplies last.

This year’s sessions, which all run from 10-11 a.m., include:

Tuesday, June 28: Aquatic Mammals

Bert Myers, Environmental Education Specialist Program Supervisor with the Department of Environmental Protection, leads instruction on this float, with an overview of common aquatic mammals — such as beavers, otters, mink and muskrat — on one level and a closer look at the beaver and how its unique behaviors can impact an aquatic ecosystem.

Tuesday, July 12: Mining heritage and AMD

Join former Pennsylvania coal miner Van Wagner for interpretive program about the human story behind coal. Who were the people who mined (and still mine) coal? Where are the coal regions found? A little bit of music and a lot of history will make for a special program on the Susquehanna. Meanwhile, Bobby Hughes, the executive director of the Eastern PA Coalition of Abandoned Mine Reclamation, will offer a presentation of current issues related to Abandoned Mine Drainage.

Tuesday, July 19: Microplastics and fish anatomy

Kim Dagen, environmental scientist with the Susquehanna River Basin Commission, shares an overview on plastics found in the river, the sampling equipment used and hands-on experiments that demonstrate some of the issues related to microplastics in our waterways. Meanwhile, USGS research fisheries biologist Vicki Blazer will discuss general fish anatomy via a dissection demonstration of how fish are examined.

Tuesday, Aug. 2: Bats of our Watershed

Pennsylvania Game Commission biologist talks about the importance of bat species in our watershed, how they impact our aquatic ecosystem and we will review different bat species’ identification and characteristics.

Tuesday, Aug. 16: Invasive invaders

Dr. Megan Kepler Schall, Assistant Professor Biology at Penn State-Hazelton, and Sydney Stark will lead presentations on common aquatic invasive species that threaten our watershed including the flathead catfish, snakehead and rusty crayfish.

Saturday, Sept. 10: Aquatic photography & videography

Dr. Joseph Simons, vice president of the Middle Susquehanna Riverkeeper Association and pioneer of the Wild Trout Man video series, will join photographer/videographer Michael Kinney in presentations about their work with tips on how to improve your own photography/videography of our outdoor resources.

Tuesday, Sept. 13: Aquatic flooding impacts

This year is the 50th anniversary of the devastating Agnes flooding throughout the region. This float will offer a look back at the historical elements of the flood, how flooding events impact aquatic ecosystems and will include a presentation from a Susquehanna River Basin Commission biologist using a floodplain simulation model.

Tuesday, Sept. 27: Flex those mussels!

Sean Reese, program scientist with Bucknell University’s Watershed Sciences and Engineering Program, will lead a presentation on freshwater mussel life cycles, their importance in aquatic ecosystems along with some implications for their conservation along with a demonstration of their filtration capacity. Another presentation onboard will focus on identification and invasive species concerns.

For more details on these sessions and to register (while space is available) click here.

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