Fun and education at Chiques Creek Watershed Alliance’s Watershed expo

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The annual Chiques Creek Watershed Alliance’s Watershed Expo featured a variety of hands-on activities as well as some fun giveaways. It was held at the Manheim Farm Show complex, which fittingly is adjacent to the Chiques Creek. The June 5 event was also part of Lancaster Conservancy’s Lancaster Water Week.

Steve Gergely, CCWA president, said over 600 people attended the family-friendly watershed expo.

“Hosting the annual watershed expo continues to be one of the most effective and enjoyable ways of engaging the public with the issues that are important to the Chiques Creek Watershed Alliance. It’s always gratifying to see so many people engaging with our exhibitors as well as enjoying an evening by the creek. Being part of Water Week has given the event additional exposure.

Every year the event continues to grow in attendance,” he said.

Fun activities for kids included painting a rain barrel that was later raffled, making a fish print t-shirt and collecting stamps from presenters to earn water balloons to launch.

There was even free ice cream and drinks from Kreider’s Dairy, live music from Songsmith and food available to purchase from food trucks. Members of Manheim FFA could be found serving ice cream, helping kids with rain barrel painting and assisting in the water balloon launch.

Exhibits included a functioning model of a rain garden, a beekeeping display, a display of native plants and a display of macroinvertebrates found in area waterways. The Lancaster County Solid Waste Management Authority provided information about recycling with a display and an interactive game. Penn State Lancaster County Master Gardeners presented a home composting seminar.

Donegal Trout Unlimited provided information about its activities including trout in the classroom project. The organization partners with the state council of Trout Unlimited and the state Fish & Boat Commission in this interdisciplinary program for students in grades 3 through 12. Through raising brook trout from eggs to fingerlings in an aquarium, students learn about cold water conservation and life cycles among other things.

“People often think of us as an old man’s fishing club. We’re a conservation group; we focus on conserving, protecting and restoring cold water streams,” said Jim Wellendorf, “It’s all inter-related-it’s good for fishing, but more importantly it’s good for the environment.”

Jarrett Leister helps his three-year-old son, Finn, create a fish print t-shirt at the Chiques Creek Watershed Alliance’s 2019 Watershed Expo.

Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission waterways conservation officer Bill Williams holds an eastern box turtle during the Chiques Creek Watershed Alliance’s 2019 Watershed Expo.

Visitors checking out Lancaster Conservancy’s booth could pick up information about the organization and Water Week activities as week as well as a free tree. Visitors could select from pin oak, sweet bay magnolia or pagoda dogwood. The free trees were sponsored by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and Keystone 10 Million Trees Partnership. “We anticipate giving away about 1,000 native trees this week. Planting a tree is a great way to help the environment,” said Kelly Snavely, communications specialist.

Representatives of Go Native Tree Farm, Manheim, provided information about the native species at its nursery. The nursery contains a number of American chestnut trees as well as over 200 other native species including paw paw trees.

A Tesla Model 3 displayed by Richards Energy Group also drew a lot of attention. Steve Hornung of Richards Energy Group said a lot of people were interested in learning more about this electric vehicle.

Some of the visitors came from the Manheim area, but others traveled from Landisville, Leola and other parts of the county. Landisvillle resident Hannah Royer was with her husband and children.

“We like the environment and do a lot of environmental programs at our church,” she said. “We came to the expo not only to learn about the environment, but also to learn about activities we could do at our church.”

The Leister family from Leola attended Water Week activities last year and has been visiting a number of events this year.

“We found out about Water Week through Cub Scouts. We attended several events last year. We decided to do some new things this year, and this expo is one of them,” said Sara Leister.

CCWA’s next event will be a Creek Stomp, 6 p.m., Wednesday, Aug. 14 at Mummau Park, West High Street, Manheim. For further information about the organization, visit chiquescreekwatershed.org or visit its Facebook page.

Rochelle Shenk is a correspondent for the Lititz Record Express. She welcomes your comments and questions at RAASHENK@aol.com. 

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