Schuykill

Celebrate Shad!

By Nancy Grundahl

American Shad, photo courtesy of the National Park Service

American Shad, photo courtesy of the National Park Service

Every spring around this time folks in the Delaware Valley pay homage to shad. Why? We are celebrating their return after many years of reduced populations due to polluted rivers and the construction of dams that blocked their migration upstream to spawn. Healthier waters and fish ladders have been instrumental in their comeback and so we celebrate.

How? By eating shad, of course! Restaurants serve all sorts of yummy dishes that use shad, like seared shad and shad croquettes. On the web there are tips on where to fish, when to fish and how to fish for shad. And there are festivals. Lots of them. Here are a few you might want to visit this weekend.

Lambertville, New Jersey Shad Fest(on the Delaware River just across from New Hope, Pa.)
April 28 & 29, 2012
12:30-5:30 pm

Fishtown Shadfest 2012 – Penn Treaty Park (on the Delaware River in Philadelphia)
April 28, 2012
noon-6 pm

Schuylkill River Shad Festival (on the Schuylkill River in Mont Clare, Pa.)
April 28, 2012
11 am – 5 pm

Can’t make it to the festivals but want to celebrate in your own special way? Then take a look at Philadelphia’s Fish Cam. If you are lucky, you will see shad migrating upstream by using the river ladder on the Fairmount Dam. And listen to our podcast for more about the fish ladder.

Take a look. Take a listen. Celebrate shad.

About the author: Nancy Grundahl has worked for the Philadelphia office of EPA since the mid-80’s. Nancy believes in looking at environmental problems in a holistic, multi-media way and is a strong advocate of preventing pollution instead of dealing with it after it has been created. Nancy likes to garden and during the growing season brings flowers into the office. Nancy also writes for the EPA “It’s Our Environment” blog.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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It’s a Boy! It’s a Girl! It’s an Environmentalist!

sanvideoBy Trey Cody

I remember being in grade school, and my school was having an Earth Day celebration.  This was my first encounter with being educated about protecting our environment, and it inspired me to do what I could to make a difference.

I did small acts then, like encouraging my family to recycle and reduce their water use. In high school, I pushed to implement a recycling program. In college, I became a Penn State Eco-Rep, and I teach students how they can live a more sustainable lifestyle.  Currently, I am a student intern in EPA Mid-Atlantic’s Water Protection Division.  All of these acts and the ones in between would not have been possible if I was not motivated when being educated on environmental protection from an early age.  EPA agrees that environmental education is vital in helping to conserve and protect our environment and takes time to recognize schools that make outstanding efforts to groom the next generation of environmentalists.

School may be out for summer, but students and schools in the Schuylkill River watershed haven’t taken a vacation from protecting their watershed.  Some of these schools recognize the importance of teaching the younger generations about environmental topics such as water conservation and pollution sources. And they are not only teaching but also modeling good practices in management of their own facilities.

For their part in protecting drinking water sources through educational programs, class projects, and land management practices, several schools, colleges, and universities were recognized at the 2011 Schuylkill Action Network Drinking Water Scholastic Awards. This event was hosted at Upper Perkiomen School District Education Center in Pennsburg, Pennsylvania. In attendance was EPA Region 3 Deputy Regional Administrator Bill Early who spoke about the importance of environmental education. Some environmental acts that were recognized included: installing rain gardens, planting and repairing buffers, and testing water. Some students also created educational videos to educate the watershed community on why it’s important to keep our water clean.

Click on the picture above to watch a video overview of the 2011 Schuylkill Action Network Drinking Water Scholastic Awards. Click on the link to learn more about the Schuylkill Action Network and how they are promoting education and outreach.  Have kids at home?  How are you educating them about environmental protection? Leave a comment and let us know!

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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The Schuylkill River Movie – Starring YOU!

Schuykill Action NetworkAre you a student who lives or attends school in the Schuylkill River watershed?  Do you enjoy activities along the Schuylkill River or one of the streams that flow into it?  Have you ever left a movie theater thinking, “I could make movies”?  If you answered yes to these questions, then the Schuylkill Action Network wants YOU to make a film!

The Schuylkill Action Network (SAN) is a collaboration of more than one hundred organizations and individuals, including EPA Region 3, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, the Philadelphia Water Department, the Delaware River Basin Commission, and the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary.  The goal of the SAN is to improve the water resources of the Schuylkill River watershed.

To encourage people to return to the river for fun, the SAN is launching a student Schuylkill Stories video contest with the theme “This is My Watershed.”  If you’re a student in elementary, middle, high school or college tell us, in your original video 3-minutes-or-less, what you love about the Schuylkill River watershed.  From fishing to rowing to bird watching, sketching and picnicking, the 2,000 square mile watershed gives everyone plenty of opportunities for fun.  Creativity is encouraged!  Use your own video footage, animation, claymation or music to show the world what you love most about your watershed.

Is amateur filmmaking not really your thing?  Don’t forget about SAN’s other student competition, the annual Drinking Water Scholastic Awards.  The awards recognize schools in the Schuylkill River watershed that promote drinking water protection through educational programs or class projects.  Did you know that the Schuylkill River watershed has 52 drinking water intakes that collectively serve 1.5 million people?  Moreover, many are surprised to learn that schools are one of the largest combined property owners in the entire watershed!  What is your school doing to spread the word about protecting sources of drinking water?

For more information about both contests, including prizes and deadlines, visit the SAN website.

In the meantime, share your comments below about what you love to do in, on or by the Schuylkill River!

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Please share this post. However, please don't change the title or the content. If you do make changes, don't attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.