Williamsport, Pennsylvania — Students can take environmental education classes while experiencing the environment firsthand through the Floating Classroom Series hosted by the Middle Susquehanna River Association. Classes will be held on the Hiawatha Riverboat and will feature guest speakers on the theme of the Susquehanna River.
The first four of the eight floating classroom summer programs are now open for registration. Registration consists of two steps: submission of an online form, including the names and ages of the young people who attend and then pay for the tickets; then the payment of the ticket. Ticket payment is currently only open for the first three classes. More will be added as program dates approach. Seats are reserved in the order of ticket sales received.
Class floating list
June 28: Aquatic Mammals
This session will provide an overview of common aquatic mammals – such as beavers, otters, minks and muskrats – then dive deeper into beaver behaviors and their impact on an aquatic ecosystem. The session, presented by Bert Myers, Program Supervisor Environmental Education Specialist at the Department of Environmental Protection, will run from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
July 12: Mining heritage and runoff problems from abandoned mines
What is the human history of coal? Who mined (and still mines) the coal, and where? An interpretive program by former Pennsylvania coal miner Van Wagner will explore these questions through history and music. Meanwhile, Bobby Hughes, Executive Director of the Eastern PA Coalition of Abandoned Mine Reclamation, will deliver a presentation on current issues with abandoned mine drainage. The session takes place from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.
July 19: Managing microplastics
Plastics are found in the Susquehanna, like most bodies of water. Kim Dagen, environmental scientist at the Susquehanna River Basin Commission, will discuss microplastics in the waterway with a focus on sampling equipment and hands-on experiences. Additional presentations will come from local college researchers who have conducted a wide variety of studies on microplastics. The session takes place from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.
August 2, August 16, September 10: Pending
September 13: Flood impacts
This year marks the 50th anniversary of Agnes’ devastating floods across the region. This series will provide a retrospective look at the historical elements of the flood, the impact of flooding on aquatic ecosystems, and will include a presentation by a biologist from the Susquehanna River Basin Commission using a floodplain simulation model.
September 27: Flex those molds!
Bucknell University Watershed Science and Engineering Program Scientist Sean Reese will give a presentation on the life cycles of freshwater mussels and their importance in aquatic ecosystems. In particular, Reese will address their conservation efforts and offer a demonstration of their filtration capability. Another onboard presentation will focus on invasive species identification and concerns.
Questions about floating classrooms, ideas for future sessions, and event sponsorship requests can be directed to John Zaktansky at [email protected]