NAZARETH, Pa. — What substance covers 71% of the earth? What vital substance is needed by every cell in all living things? What valuable resource is abused, wasted, and taken for granted every day? If you answered water, you are right. We cannot live without it. But fresh water is NOT an unlimited resource. Of all the water on the earth only 2.5% is fresh water. Of that, only about 0.3 % is usable by humans. As population increases and urbanization creeps out ever farther into rural areas, the need for water conservation grows.
Lehigh Valley residents that want to learn more about the environment and get involved in local efforts to protect water can look to the Penn State Extension Master Watershed Steward Program. No previous experience is necessary – just a desire to give back. This program brings together university educators from varied disciplines, environmental professionals and local conservation agencies to deliver 40 hours of training to a select group of recruits who in turn volunteer to help protect the Lehigh Valley’s most important valuable resource, water. Lessons in topics such as water quality, stream health and restoration, recreational use, groundwater, and geology equip the trainees for many projects that benefit the community. Last year 65 volunteers spent nearly 1,300 hours teaching students about stream ecology, planting riparian buffers to filter run-off, installing rain gardens, helping municipalities meet state mandated storm water runoff requirements and delivering educational public workshops for homeowners on rain barrels, pollinator gardens and storm water management.
The program launched in the Lehigh Valley in 2013, and due to its success, there are now Master Watershed Steward programs in seventeen of Pennsylvania’s Counties, with almost 500 volunteers. Applications are now being accepted for the 2020 Lehigh and Northampton training class. We are looking for enthusiastic people who want to preserve and improve the quality of life we enjoy in the Lehigh Valley.
The 2021 Master Watershed Steward virtual training program starts Wednesday, March 3 and continues through June on Wednesdays from 6:30pm to 8:30 pm. The course also includes three hands-on field trips to be scheduled COVID permitting. The fee for the program is $125, which helps offset the costs for program materials and professional guest speakers. Scholarships are available for those with financial hardships.
Three virtual Open Houses will be offered:
Tuesday, December 1 – 6:00 to 7:30pm
Wednesday, December 9 – 1:00 to 2:30pm
Wednesday, December 16 – 6:00 to 7:30pm
Please consider becoming a part of the Master Watershed Steward Program. Social events such as the annual canoe trip and seasonal potlucks offer the chance to form new friendships and network with conservationists from all walks of life in the Valley.
For more information about the Master Watershed Steward Program, contact Brad Kunsman by telephone at 610-813-6613 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Penn State encourages people with disabilities to participate in its programs and activities. If you anticipate needing any type of accommodation or have questions about the physical access provided, call the Brad Kunsman at 610-813-6613.
–Penn State Extension