Crow’s Nest: Schuylkill Acts & Impacts 2019

June 20, 2019

By Daniel Barringer, Preserve Manager.

A group of high school students from each county in the Schuylkill River watershed is making its way downstream and studying things that impact water quality in the river. Now in its 6th year, Schuylkill Acts & Impacts is a partnership of the Fairmount Water Works, the Schuylkill Headwaters Association, and the Stroud Water Research Center. Outfitting and guiding is provided by Take it Outdoors Adventures. The group spent the last two days and nights at Crow’s Nest to learn about land conservation and stewardship.

We gathered around a campfire the first night to talk a little about Natural Lands and how we came to work in this field (there’s rarely a straight path). Intern Kendra Maas talked about volunteering with our Force of Nature program and how that was a foot in the door for the internship. Job applicants sometimes get caught in a Catch-22: you need experience to get a job, but you need the job to get the experience.

Although the Impacts group dodged many of the rainstorms this week, they were caught in others. They kept up a good attitude even when wet, and were wading in the river to do water testing when it wasn’t raining. Unlike the clear weather we had last week, this week has been like a steam bath in our region. The first night we were treated to a glorious sunset and a partial rainbow as we sat at the campfire and made S’mores.

The group went on some field trips and returned to the preserve for a tour yesterday. We talked about the various parts of stewardship on our preserves: invasive plant management, hazard tree management, agriculture on the preserves, prescribed fire, prescribed grazing, restoration, and welcoming the public to the preserves. We crossed the wire bridge, visited the kids’ play area, looked at preparations for our summer camp, and returned to our field for another campfire—this time a reunion with previous participants in the program, now in college and heading into careers.

I’m always impressed with the maturity and seriousness that these students display, how open and friendly they are with our son (who says he wants to apply to this program when he gets older). It’s always a pleasure to host them at Crow’s Nest.

Below, a gray tree frog which hung out on the windowsill of the barn during the group’s visit.