Partners Learn, Share, and Reconnect at 2022 Watershed Workshops

Tali MacArthur, Watersheds Program Manager

The Pennsylvania Organization for Watersheds and Rivers (POWR) is not taking any “spring breaks” this year, though we are taking a few road trips!

This season POWR is hosting 6 regional watershed workshops. These in-person gatherings of watershed group leaders, volunteers, supporters and partners are held at unique and fun venues and provide opportunities to share resource information, learn techniques to help build capacity, and network. Over coffee and light refreshments in the morning, attendees have the chance to meet new colleagues and reconnect with ones they haven’t seen in person for a while. The workshop agenda also includes presentations on a variety of topics including ones specific to the region and a networking lunch break.

The Southcentral region workshop took place at the beautiful Trails and Trees Environmental Center, managed by the Mechanicsburg Area Parks and Recreation. Participants learned about the Susquehanna River Basin Commission’s Continuous Instream Monitoring project, the Keystone 10 Million Trees Partnership Land Owner Outreach initiative, as well as the Capital Region Water’s City Beautification Program- an inspiring effort to “green” Harrisburg though innovative and effective community engagement. Equally as well received as the expert content were the many ‘networking’ breaks- in fact, ending the breaks to get back to the scheduled presentation proved a challenge! POWR staff was excited to hear project success stories from the leaders of watershed organizations including Swatara Watershed Association, Conodoguinet Creek Watershed Association, Juniata Watershed Alliance and from several new Master Watershed Stewards from the region.

The Northcentral workshop drew over 25 attendees including those representing Chillisquaque Creek Limestone Run Watershed Group, Susquehanna Greenway Partnership, Pine Creek Headwaters Protection Group, Moshannon Creek Watershed Association, among many others. The agenda included a presentation by Penn State Extension County Master Watershed Stewards on the brand-new Homeowners Association Community Outreach Initiative as well as the story of the on-going Bull Run Restoration Project in Lewisburg, PA. Our partner and a key player in efforts to raise awareness about Chesapeake Bay policies, Penn Future joined us again. POWR is grateful to Lycoming College for allowing us the use of their campus facilities for this workshop.

The end of March found us at yet another stunning locale, Rushton Conservation Center at the Willistown Conservation Trust in Newtown Square. There attendees were introduced to cutting edge research being done by PhD students at the Villanova Center for Resilient Water Systems and were introduced to a new program from Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful to help clean up and keep litter from polluting our waterways.

If we haven’t been to your region yet, JOIN US at one these remaining workshops:

Northeastern Region: April 14, Boy Scouts of America, NEPA Council Scout Service & Training Center in Moosic

Northwestern Region: May 19, Erie National Wildlife Refuge, Guys Mills, PA

Southwestern Region: May 20, The Watershed Farm, Home of the Loyalhanna Watershed Association, Ligonier, PA

POWR wants to extend a special thank you to the staff of the Office of Environmental Justice at the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection who made the commitment to attend all 6 workshops and share the on-going efforts to ensure that policies, programs, funding, and other resources are made available to all communities in the commonwealth, that no community is unfairly or disproportionately burdened by adverse environmental impacts, and that everyone has a voice in decisions that impact them.