LANCASTER COUNTY, Pa. (WHTM) — Lancaster Water Week, a community awareness campaign and celebration of the county’s 1,400 miles of streams and rivers, kicks off June 4. The week includes dozens of fun and educational events, all centered around water.
“It’s really a celebration of the streams and rivers, and [we] really try to identify them as these incredible positive resources in our community that helped build our economy and will help sustain us for years to come if we treat them well,” Fritz Schroeder, senior vice president of community impact at the Lancaster Conservancy, said.
Commerce and agriculture in Lancaster were designed around its waterways, says Schroeder, but now half of the county’s streams are impaired. The Lancaster Conservancy created Water Week to bring together the numerous organizations working independently to care for Lancaster’s rivers and streams.
Organizations like the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, the Lancaster Science Factory, Stroud Water Research Center, Uncharted Lancaster, and more design virtual and in-person events to share water information and resources with the community.
This is the fifth year of Lancaster Water Week, and it’s the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s fourth year sponsoring the event. “It’s a great way for people to get engaged, to learn about clean water, to learn about the things they can do at home in their backyards, in their communities, in their schools, at their work,” Brenda Sieglitz, senior manager of the Keystone 10 Million Trees Partnership coordinated by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, said.
Water Week events include stream and river cleanups, virtual presentations, educational activities for youth, and self-guided treasure hunts. A complete list of 2021 Water Week events can be found on the Lancaster Conservancy’s website, here.
Sieglitz says the experts running these events will make them educational, safe, and fun for everyone. “Even if you find that you’re not an outdoors person, or you’re not really maybe comfortable with bugs or comfortable with getting out and dirty in the water, it’s a really safe way to do it,” Sieglitz said.
In addition to participating in Water Week events, community members can also take the Lancaster Water Week Pledge, committing to taking action to help the county’s waterways by creating habitat, protecting water, and getting outdoors.
Individuals can create habitats on their property that incorporate native species and stormwater management practices to protect the environment. They can help maintain streams and rivers by cleaning up litter or joining local organizations. And they can explore and get to know the outdoors.
Everyone who takes the Water Week Pledge receives a Pledge Kit including a native tree or shrub, a reusable tote bag, and additional informational resources. Pledge Kits can be picked up at various locations and events throughout the week.
“There’s a number or partners that are working hard to clean up these stream and rivers, and Water Week was really an effort to try and bring all the partners together to create more awareness amongst the general public about action steps that we can all take to clean our streams and rivers,” Schroeder said.
Lancaster Water Week runs June 4-12. Participants are encouraged to pre-register for events, as some may have limited capacity.