Stream and Farm Restoration Update: Radzwich Farm

Stream and Farm Restoration Update: Radzwich Farm

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Work began early this spring to restore a section of a tributary to the Beaver Branch of Spruce Creek on the Radzwich Farm. Jim Haney, stream restoration project manager with The WHM Group, and Bud Snyder Excavating restored the streambanks by grading, rebuilding, and finally restoring them with toewood, rock, soil, willow cuttings, coconut mats, and native grasses. These components stabilize a streambank and protect it from erosion. Live stakes were planted into the new streambanks by ClearWater volunteers to add additional roots and plants, which stabilize the banks further.

Streambank fencing, built by R&R Fencing, and livestock crossings, built by Bud Snyder Excavating with USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, were installed to allow access to all the different pasture areas, while keeping the farm animals out of the stream. Removing livestock from streams is good for both the stream and herd health and prevents sediment and nutrients from flowing downstream through the Beaver Branch and then into Spruce Creek. A water trough and feeder were installed uphill, away from the stream, to replace the stream as a water source and improve the pasture management for the farmer.

After all the Agricultural Best Management Practices are installed, the final step is to naturalize the stream buffer area by planting native trees and shrubs. Planted by Native Creations Landscape Services, the plants will shade the stream and maintain the cool water temperatures needed in trout streams and provide necessary leaf litter and woody debris for aquatic life to thrive. As the native plants mature, they create habitat for a host of species that live in the streamside riparian zone and benefit from a healthy stream.

Funding for streambank projects come from grants from many government agencies and private foundations as well as from private donations made to ClearWater’s Riparian Conservation Program. ClearWater wants to extend our thanks to all the contributors who make stream and farm restoration projects possible.

And last but not least, the biggest thanks goes to the Radzwich family for their dedication and commitment to the health of their stream and their respect for the agricultural operation on their property. The Radzwich’s have been working side by side with ClearWater staff and the farmer to bring everyone together to steward both the natural and agricultural resources on their land.

 

Garden Starters

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Spring is here, the daffodils are blooming. View the Garden Starters planting chart as well as Kelle’s excellent article on seed starting.

The National Weather Service is not predicting an earlier spring for PA (it will be earlier south of us) but there are things that can go into the ground now like onions and spinach.  Planting dates are on the chart and there are a lot of things that can go into an early garden.

A little know fact:  according to the gardening industry, around 6 – 8 % of fresh vegetabl  es in the US come from home gardens.  And the home gardening movement in this country is steadily growing.  So too is interest in the local food economy and there will be more coming on this for Centre County this year.

Special thanks to Bill Sharp for contributing this article and planting chart!

Improving Health by Going Back to Nature

group picImproving Health by Going Back to Nature

By Kelleen Lanagan

Kelleen is a 2013 Penn State graduate. She is currently finishing up her Masters of Education.

The average American child spends around seven hours a day interacting with a screen and just four to seven minutes outside exploring the possibilities of the natural world. This can lead to restlessness and even stifled creativity. Sitting in front of screens for hours a day, and having a jam-packed schedule contributes to the feeling of being overwhelmed and depressed. In recent years, the United States has seen an alarming increase in the number of youth prescriptions for ADHD medication and antidepressants. With so many diseases being the result of stress and inactivity, one way to combat many of the health problems today is simply to get up, and get outside.

Studies continue to find that being outside and in nature is linked to many mental, physical, and social heath benefits in both adults and children. Getting outside and enjoying nature is a refreshing activity that people can do to recharge. It is why some go for hikes to clear their heads, and it is why many people flock to national parks over vacations. People not only desire nature when given a choice between natural and urban landscapes, we actually need it.

What can nature do for physical health?

Being outdoors and engaging often with nature is a way to become active. Outdoor activity has many positive health effects. Exercise is an essential component in battling obesity, lowering blood pressure, and decreasing the risk of other weight-related health concerns. It can also improve physical strength by building and training muscle, and by being outside, you are absorbing the necessary sunlight to metabolize vitamin D—a vitamin that is crucial in building strong bones. Being active outside releases endorphins, a hormone in the human body that makes you feel good.

Certain chemicals released by plants as a protection against insects can boost our immune systems when we breath them. Trees and plants act as a natural air filter, removing carbon dioxide and other harmful compounds from the air. Air pollution is a particular problem in urban areas, and this pollution can cause or contribute to respiratory issues like asthma. Living closer to a forest, or being around trees more often can not only alleviate the symptoms of asthma, it can increase our quality of health in general.

Aside from trees and sunlight, there are other aspects of nature that can improve health. Gardening can boost your immune system because rich soil contains microbes—tiny microscopic organisms. Some of these microbes, like Mycobacterium vaccae, have been found to have a similar effect on the human brain as antidepressant medications. Gardening decreases the level of cortisol in your brain, which is a hormone that is involved in responding to stress. The Journal of Therapeutic Horticulture reported that adolescents engaging in a therapeutic gardening program noticed that their self-esteem grew, and they became better had handling emotional and behavioral stressors. Many of the participants expressed their desire to continue gardening after the program ended.

How can nature help our mental and social health?

Exploring nature is a great way to relieve stress. Even just going for a walk around a park can have a calming effect on the mind. Our natural curiosity as humans draws us to the outdoors, and this exploration is key to fostering a healthy imagination. Imagination can increase creativity and positive thinking, both of which are important for keeping an active and healthy mind.

There is something about the “great outdoors” that continues to inspire creativity in everyone from painters and writers, to scientists and engineers. Plants have a calming effect on our minds that can has been found to increase the speed and accuracy with which we do tasks. Having plants in the office or classroom can increase memory retention and task performance. Schools that have adopted environmental education programs have observed an increase in testing scores, while workplaces that have gardens for employees to visit during breaks see an increase in productivity.

As more people become involved with nature programs and outdoor activities, getting outside could increase the time we spend socializing with others. When many people are involved with nature, it also becomes an opportunity to enhance social connections and forge lasting friendships.

What can you do?

If you have ever felt overwhelmed by work, studies, or the bustle of a tight schedule, it may seem counterintuitive, but take a break. Go explore. Take time for yourself and remind yourself what it means to be outside connecting with nature and the people in it. One way to do this is by checking out local parks and environmental organizations for events

Events are a wonderful way to get that first foot out the door and to become part of a community of people who love being outside. The key to a happier and healthier life could in fact be your own back yard. Getting out into nature not only improves health and relationships with the community, it allows us to reconnect with a part of our very own nature.

Check out events at Clearwater Conservancy: http://www.clearwaterconservancy.org/events/

References:

(2007, April 2) Getting dirty may lift your mood. University of Bristol. http://www.bristol.ac.uk/news/2007/5384.html

(2013, November 5) Improving Health and Wellness through Access to Nature. https://www.apha.org/policies-and-advocacy/public-health-policy-statements/policy-database/2014/07/08/09/18/improving-health-and-wellness-through-access-to-nature

(2016) How Does Nature Impact Our Wellbeing? https://www.takingcharge.csh.umn.edu/enhance-your-wellbeing/environment/nature-and-us/how-does-nature-impact-our-wellbeing

Hamblin, J. (2014, July 29) The Health Benefit of Trees. The Atlantic. https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2014/07/trees-good/375129/

Husted, K. (2012, February 22) Can Gardening Help Troubled Minds Heal? http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2012/02/17/147050691/can-gardening-help-troubled-minds-heal

Kingsley, J. Y., Townsend, M., & Henderson‐Wilson, C. (2009). Cultivating health and wellbeing: members’ perceptions of the health benefits of a Port Melbourne community garden. Leisure Studies, 28(2), 207-219.

Maller, C., Townsend, M., Pryor, A., Brown, P., & St Leger, L. (2006). Healthy nature healthy people:‘contact with nature’as an upstream health promotion intervention for populations. Health promotion international, 21(1), 45-54.

Matthews, D. M., & Jenks, S. M. (2013). Ingestion of Mycobacterium vaccae decreases anxiety-related behavior and improves learning in mice. Behavioural processes, 96, 27-35.

National Wildlife Federation. There’s a reason they call it the great outdoors. http://www.nwf.org/~/media/PDFs/Be%20Out%20There/MindBodySpirit_FactSheet_May2010.ashx

Thank You Art & Chocolate Winter Gala Artists, Sponsors, and Guests

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See the Art & Chocolate Winter Gala Photo Album Here

Thanks to everyone who joined us at the Art & Chocolate Winter Gala on February 10! The evening was a huge success thanks to our fun-loving guests, incredible artists, delicious dessert donors, dedicated volunteers, and generous sponsors who joined us to support ClearWater’s vision of working together for people and place to nurture a healthy environment and thriving communities right here in the heart of Pennsylvania!

 

Ramada State College

Centre Daily Times

Kissinger Bigatel & Brower REALTORS®

Nittany Entertainment

BB&T

PennTerra Engineering, Inc.

Northwest Savings Bank

Nestlerode & Loy Investment Advisors

University Wine Company

Otto’s Pub and Brewery

Recent Press Releases

May 19, 2017

ClearWater Farmland Preservation Projects Hits Last & Final Stretch

April 11, 2017

Clearwater Conservancy meets 2nd fundraising deadline

January 9, 2017

18 Acres added to Scotia Barrens (enews update version)

December 23, 2016

Slab Cabin Run gets funding boost

December 22, 2016

ClearWater Conservancy meets 1st fundraising deadline 

December 16, 2016

Municipalities should contribute to Slab Cabin Run Initiative

December 14, 2016

Patton Township supervisors adopt budget with no tax increase

December 1, 2016

College Township residents express support for ClearWater Initiative, council still has questions

November 22, 2016

Board of Supervisors discusses ClearWater funding

October 27, 2016

ClearWater embarks on new project to conserve Meyer Dairy property, Everhart Farm

Earth Minutes: Links and Resources

Thanks for listening to our Earth Minutes on 98.7 The FREQ, brought to you by ClearWater Conservancy and Envinity of State College:

Going Solar:

Solar power is the conversion of energy from sunlight into electricity. That electricity flows into your home where you are using energy, or onto the utility grid for credit when you are not using energy. The cost to go solar has dropped dramatically over the past few years, especially considering the 30% federal tax credit doesn’t hurt either.  Local solar companies such as Envinity can help you determine if you have a good solar resource and calculate project economics at no cost. Going solar is typically the final step after you have worked to increase the energy efficiency of your home. To learn more about how solar power can work for you, visit www.solarforhomepa.com or call Envinity at 814.231.3927

Home Energy Audit:

Information about hiring a professional or doing a DIY home energy audit

Invasive vs. Native Plants:

 List of native plant providers

Xerces Society: Plant lists and pollinator protection information

Native plant replacements for your invasives

Build Your Own Rain Barrel:

Instructions

Please email Andrea for more information: andrea@clearwaterconservancy.org 

Reduce Holiday Waste:

10 tips for going Zero Waste over the holidays

Spring Creek Watershed:

 Spring Creek Watershed Association

Get Outside in Cold Weather:

Spring Creek Canyon Trail

Musser Gap Trail

Barrens to Bald Eagle Wildlife Corridor

The Barrens to Bald Eagle Wildlife Corridor is one of the last remaining natural connections allowing free passage of wildlife between State Game Lands 176 and Bald Eagle Mountain. The corridor is forever protected through a joint public/private partnership between ClearWater Conservancy, Halfmoon Township Open Space Preservation Program, County Planning and Community Development Office, and private donors. The Scotia Barrens and Bald Eagle Mountain are both designated “Important Bird Areas” and “Important Mammal Areas” because they provide large, unique, or critical habitat for many bird and mammal species. Residential development threatens to isolate these two natural land masses from each other as well as the wildlife populations they support. The wildlife corridor provides a natural connection between two critical habitats, forever ensuring safe passage.

Directions to Bald Eagle Wildlife Corridor: From State College: Take US 322 West to SR 550 (Buffalo Run Road) Turn left onto SR 550 Travel 2.9 miles to Saddle Ridge Road on the left Travel Saddle Ridge Road taking first right onto Harness Downs Road Follow Harness Downs Road to its end and the parking area. The hiking trail begins in the extreme left-hand corner of the parking lot. Please note: speed limit is 25 mph on Saddle Ridge and Harness Downs Roads.’ Please be a thoughtful visitor and strictly obey the speed limit.

From Stormstown: Travel SR 550 through Stormstown, past church on Right just past Stormstown Take first Right past church onto Saddle Ridge Rd. (do not take farm lane) Travel Saddle Ridge Rd. taking first Right onto Harness Downs Rd. Follow Harness Downs Rd. to its end and the parking area. The hiking trail begins in the extreme left-hand corner of the parking lot. Please note: speed limit is 25 mph on Saddle Ridge and Harness Downs Roads! Please be a thoughtful visitor and strictly obey the speed limit.

 

 

 

ClearWater awarded $100,000 Centre Inspires Grant by Centre Foundation

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At its annual dinner on Tuesday, Centre Foundation awarded its Centre Inspires $100,000 grant to ClearWater Conservancy’s Centred Outdoors project.

Centred Outdoors is designed to help engage people in the natural world through guided outings at various Centre County destinations, according to a press release from ClearWater Conservancy.

“This year, the Centre Inspires granting cycle was focused on community engagement through the environment around us,” Molly Kunkel, Centre Foundation’s executive director, said in a press release from the foundation. “This program encourages collaboration among different sectors in Centre County in an effort to transform an element of our area.”

The effort is in collaboration with the Mount Nittany Health System, Penn State’s Sustainability Institute, Penns Valley Conservation Association, Mount Nittany Conservancy and Millbrook Marsh Nature Center.

The initiative will feature the launch of summer 2017 Centred Outdoors Challenge, according to the release from ClearWater. The family-friendly fitness challenge will promote exploration at eight Centre County destinations, including Mount Nittany, The Arboretum at Penn State, Spring Creek Canyon Trail, Millbrook Marsh, the Barrens to Bald Eagle Wildlife Corridor/Scotia Gamelands, Black Moshannon and Bald Eagle State Park and the Penns Creek Canyon Corridor and Talleyrand Park.

ClearWater will also partner with Mount Nittany Health System and Centre Moves to launch the Prescription ParRx program, where physicians will write prescriptions for time outdoors at the eight destinations, according to ClearWater’s release.

According to ClearWater’s release, the Penn State Sustainable Communities Collaborative, Mount Nittany Conservancy, Penns Valley Conservation Association and Millbrook Marsh Nature Center will help lead guided outings each weekend during the summer.

“We know that spending time outside is good for your mind, body and soul. Getting outdoors is also good for conservation, helping build a love of place and a population that desires to protect it. We’re excited to help Centre County residents explore the dynamic environment in their very own backyard,” according to ClearWater’s release.

Read more here: http://www.centredaily.com/news/local/article112190792.html#storylink=cpy