Walking into Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center the first morning after my arrival was stepping into many unknowns. However, starting from the first face I met, the mission of Shaver’s Creek to connect people to people and people to place had been set into motion in my life.
In early May, I visited sites throughout Pennsylvania’s forested land to investigate the presence of Eastern Box Turtles. One of the goals of my summer research project with Dr. Julian Avery at Penn State was to collect data on populations that can be used to guide habitat management.
Susquehanna Shale Hills Critical Zone Observatory (SSHCZO) is continuously researching the critical zone in Shaver’s Creek watershed. This research helps us to better understand the critical zone and how our land management practices may be impacting it.
Cole Farm is a site that Susquehanna Shale Hills Critical Zone Observatory (SSHCZO) uses to extrapolate data to better understand the whole watershed. There is also interdisciplinary work being done at Cole Farm that is valuable to our understanding of the critical zone.
Shale Hills and Garner Run are two catchments within the Shale Hills Critical Zone Observatory. Data collection and research at these sites can provide important insight into the critical zone.
We’re excited to publicly announce the reopening of our center and we’d like to welcome you back to see all that Shaver’s Creek has to offer. We couldn’t be more excited to grow with our community for many years to come!
The critical zone is “an environment where rock, soil, water, air, and living organisms interact and shape the Earth’s surface” (The Critical Zone). It supports all terrestrial life on Earth, regulates water quality, and provides fertile land to grow food on.
Riparian forest buffers (riparian buffers) are areas next to streams, lakes, or wetlands that are made up of trees, shrubs, and other perennial plants and provide a “buffer zone” between agricultural land and waterways (USDA).
Nutrient pollution is a major problem affecting Pennsylvania’s streams, waterways, and ultimately entire watersheds. It is the excess of chemicals, mostly nitrogen and phosphorus, in the air or water that cause environmental problems (U.S. EPA, 2019).
The 10:20 plane from Dulles motors over the Pennsylvania ridges. Below, nestled among the rocks on a powerline cut sit a handful of people, so bundled against the cold they hardly look like people. The pilot gives a squint. “Those crazy hawk watchers are back.”