By Christopher Henry, PWEA SYP Chair

Since 2008, the Water Environment Federation Students and Young Professionals Committee (SYPC) has organized an annual WEFTEC Service Project at the national conference. The event has installed bioswales, rain gardens, and green classrooms throughout the host cities. With the success of the national event, the Pennsylvania Water Environment Association (PWEA) Board of Directors and Student Young Professionals Committee decided to establish an annual service project as part of PennTec, PWEA’s Annual Technical Conference. The event was organized by SYPC Vice Chair Chris Henry from Mott MacDonald and Mike Callahan from Derry Township Municipal Authority. 

PWEA’s inaugural service project expanded a riparian zone along Swatara Creek at the Boathouse Park in Hershey PA. A riparian zone is an area of natural vegetation between upland areas and streams or rivers. This zone provides protection to aquatic environments from erosion, sedimentation, and polluted surface runoff. The vegetation also provides food, shelter, and shade to wildlife.

On June 3, 2018, approximately 45 volunteers planted a variety of River Birch, American Sycamore, Swamp White Oak, Winterberry Holly, Silky Dogwood, Red Maple and Chokecherry throughout the half-acre site. Derry Township staked out and GPS’d the location for each seedling prior to the event. Mike Callahan provided a demonstration on proper planting and installation of protective tree tubes and bird nettings. Each tree was also given a fresh scoop of Clearwater Stedigro, a biosolid-based fertilizer generated by the Derry Township Municipal Authority wastewater treatment plant.  The volunteers worked diligently over three hours searching for the locations and planting each species of tree.

PWEA and the SYP Committee would like to thank the Chesapeake Bay Foundation for loaning the 10 Million Tree Partnership tool trailer for the event and Mike Callahan and Derry Township Municipal Authority for all the help in selecting the site and coordinating activities throughout the event.  The trees, stakes, tubes, supplies, lunch and beverages were purchased by PWEA with the assistance of donations from the following sponsors:

Gold Level ($500)
Mott MacDonald
Stone Hill Contracting Co., Inc.

Silver Level ($250)
Herbert, Rowland & Grubic, Inc.

Planning is already underway for next year’s event which will be held on June 2, 2019 in State College. We hope to see you there for another successful event giving back to our host city!

Jenny Hartfelder, Jim Degnan & Kevin Shannon

Getting the future of our industry involved!

Chris Henry, Lead Project Coordinator

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