Wednesday, November 3rd, 2010

The Lower Susquehanna

Located along the mid-Susquehanna River, Bucknell University sees only half of what passes through the watershed into the Chesapeake Bay. Last week, the Bucknell on the Susquehanna program took a journey to the lower reaches of the watershed to explore contrasts and similarities to our own portion of the basin. Monday Stop I: Lancaster County Planning Commission After a bit of a close call with a tree , BotS arrived at the Lancaster County Courthouse to meet with members of the county planning commission, and to hear about the challenges and successes of Pennsylvania’s most comprehensive county development plan. With […]

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Thursday, October 28th, 2010


There are many types of photography, but all of them aim to achieve the same basic principle: to stop time. The role of the photographer is to choose what portion of space is to be frozen in time, for what length of time, and what is the focus of the image. I have personally become quite accustomed to journalistic photography, which focuses primarily on capturing people and places in action. Most of my blog so far has displayed this form of photography, capturing BotS in many of the unique locations we visit, usually pointing at, picking up, or sampling some […]

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Tuesday, October 19th, 2010

Water quality, rivertowns and greenways…

Once again based on campus, the BotS crew continues to examine the many different aspects of the Susquehanna River watershed. Starting at the headwaters of Buffalo Creek, we had the opportunity on Monday to take a variety of water quality samples as the creek progresses toward the Susquehanna River. In the mountains, with water flowing through inert bedrock, the stream is highly responsive to changes in acidity. Due to concerns of acid rain affecting the ecology of this portion of Buffalo Creek, the local watershed alliance has constructed a set of artificial wetlands that filter the water through limestone and […]

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Tuesday, October 19th, 2010

Headwaters in Native Lands: Part II

Day II: October 7, 2010 (…Continued) After a morning spent hearing a history rarely told in Western schools, we had lunch at one of the Onondaga Nation’s two significant income sources, a multi-million dollar enclosed lacrosse area. The arena is currently being converted for the season into a hockey rink, to which former BU LAX coach Jameison quipped, “Hockey just keeps you in shape for lacrosse.” Across the parking lot is the other income source for the Onodaga, a cigarette store capable of selling tobacco products tax-free. Yet this source of income is controversial, as the tribal leaders would rather […]

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Wednesday, October 13th, 2010

Headwaters in Native Lands: Part I

It has been said that the beginning is a very good place to start, but the subject of the Susquehanna River is so broad and diverse that it has taken until Week 7 to reach the source of the river. This past week has brought the Bucknell on the Susquehanna crew to a wide variety of historically and culturally significant locations in the upper reaches of the watershed. Leaving Wednesday afternoon on Bus #4, we spent two and a half days in the Finger Lakes region of New York State exploring Native American culture, ecosemiotics (I’m still not convinced that’s […]

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Monday, October 4th, 2010

The next wave…

Even as Pennsylvania recovers from the after-effects of the coal and logging booms, another natural resource has been discovered within the borders of the Commonwealth, the Marcellus Shale. Over the millennia, the 300 million-year-old shale has been compressed and cooked by the heat of the earth’s  core, producing natural gas trapped in the tight layers of the rock. To extract the methane from the rock, the gas industry has pioneered the use of two specific methods to extract the valuable resource from its present location approximately a mile beneath the surface of the Appalachian Plateau: horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing. […]

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Thursday, September 30th, 2010

The Legacy of Logging

William Penn’s woods have been subjected to grievous insults over the past century and a half, and the repercussions are still affecting entire regions of the state. Beginning in the mid-1800s, loggers stripped the hills of nearly every standing tree to fuel a growing nation and to sustain the efforts of the Union during the Civil War. The  loggers began with the magnificent stands of white pine, legendary for the size and quality of the trees, especially for ship masts. As is typical in boom and bust economies, the loggers began to expand their take once the highest quality lumber was […]

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Monday, September 27th, 2010

…burning since the world’s been turning: mine fires and coal in Central Pennsylvania

There is no other state I know with such a wide-spread affinity for burning things as is found in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. But on May 27, 1962, instead of simply burning up trash and debris in the Centralia town dump,  several firefighters accidentally set the ground beneath their feet on fire. The fire escaped from the surface, into a seam of anthracite coal, the very resource that established both town of Centralia all the towns all across the Hard Coal region of Pennsylvania. The fire burns on, decades later, as proved by the steam and smoke still escaping from […]

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Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010

Measuring the Watershed

After a week on the road, it almost feels like a vacation to stay around Lewisburg for our activities. We nonetheless remained quite busy, visiting Cowan several times, electro-shocking a portion of a small creek to collect samples of aquatic lifeforms, and visiting local farms that ultimately affect the Chesapeake Bay that we just visited the week before. The beginning of the week involved understanding watershed science, from both a geomorphological and an ecological perspective. We measured stream discharge, surveyed a cross-section of Buffalo Creek, and I was amazed at the number of small fish that turned up in a stream that […]

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Thursday, September 16th, 2010

Chesapeake Bay: Part II

Day 3: Safely returned to the mainland, our trip to the barrier island has been a success and we are all tired but thrilled to have had such an adventure. Next, our attention is turned inland to the Bay, and to one of the best places to come to grips with the issues and concerns that face the Bay: The Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) Headquarters. It is one thing for an organization to say, “Save the Bay,” and another thing to exemplify it by lifestyle and even the construction of their facilities. The Philip Merrill Environmental Center is constructed from […]

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Places I've Been

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