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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Monday, September 13th, 2010

Chesapeake Bay: Part I

This past week has been the first of several extended field trips for the BotS crew. This week’s goal being to experience at least a sampling of the entire Chesapeake Bay in five days. As I write this, we are on the road back to Bucknell, nearly everyone is asleep or quickly fading in that direction (except for “Dad” driving the bus and “Mr. Frizzle”[1].) There is too much to tell in one post, so here is Part I of our adventures. Day I: Normally, we have one extra seat on the bus, but to fit 14 people and all […]

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Tuesday, September 7th, 2010

Ancient History

Week Two of Bucknell on the Susquehanna has been largely focused on two elements: Rocks and humans. While we are no longer a Stone Age society, dependent on stone to make our tools, we are still tremendously influenced by the rocks that make up the world we live in. From quarries to sacred Native American grounds, and from outcrops of the now famous (or infamous, depending on your perspective) Marcellus Shale to obscure piles of dirt that turn out to be 800,000 years old glacial deposits, we have been all over the history of the Susquehanna River Valley. Rocks are […]

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Tuesday, September 7th, 2010

ON the Susquehanna

Last Friday began the first of our official classes, Bucknell literally on (and occasionally in) the Susquehanna River. At Montoursville, Dr. Ben Hayes, director of the University Environmental Center, explains the significance of the region we are about to explore on this day’s kayak trip. As will be seen throughout the semester, there are many facets from different perspectives to consider. The oldest element is the geologic history of the region, as the Susquehanna here rides the border between two distinct physio-geographic provinces of Pennsylvania. To the south are miles upon miles of ridges and valleys, tortured folds of rock […]

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Friday, August 13th, 2010

The beginning

This summer has been exciting to say the least, and I’ve earned the few short weeks of R&R I’ve had at home. This summer was spent floating down the Susquehanna River between Milton, Danville and Shamokin Dam, on what little water there was, taking water samples for chemistry analysis. My parents didn’t understand why I wanted to stay in Lewisburg and collect water samples instead of sitting on the beach all summer, but I’m glad I did. There were many adventures throughout the summer including electrofishing in West Virginia, kayaking to Northumberland, dragging Jon boats in the shallow river and […]

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Tuesday, August 10th, 2010

Part I: Preparation

Intermittently since the summer of 2008, my home has been in the Susquehanna River Valley and so has my classroom. Come the end of this month, the river will BE my classroom for the duration of the fall 2010 semester. I cannot put into words how excited I am for this experience, especially as one of the culminating academic opportunities of my undergraduate experience. My first experience in a kayak was near my home in McHenry, Md., on the Youghiogheny River (and you thought Susquehanna was hard to spell) at the age of seven or eight; and I promptly tipped the […]

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Places I've Been

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