Did you know that despite covering over 70% of the earth’s surface only 0.3% of water is accessible and usable by people? This water includes the rivers, streams, and lakes that residents in Berks County regularly enjoy for fishing, paddling, and other recreation. Not to mention we get our drinking water from this 0.3% as well. Now consider that this usable, fresh water is not an unlimited resource. It takes considerable time and money to ensure that the water we are using for everyday needs and recreation is safe and clean. But what if there were ways that residents could help ensure that our local waters are protected and pollution free? Would you sign up to help your Berks communities?
Berks County residents are invited to learn more about our environment and ways in which they can work with other community members and partners to help protect this vital resource by joining the next class of Penn State Extension Master Watershed Stewards in Berks County. All you need to join our team of Master Watershed Stewards is a desire to give back to your community.
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 Berk County’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. Projects include 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 and storm water management.
The Master Watershed Steward program launched in Pennsylvania in 2013, and due to its success, there are now Master Watershed Steward programs in 17 of Pennsylvania’s counties, with almost 500 volunteers. The Berks County program started in 2017 and is currently accepting applications
for our upcoming training class. We hope to have 20 enthusiastic volunteers joining our team to help educate others and work towards improving water quality in the county.
The 2021 Master Watershed Steward virtual training program starts Wednesday, March 3, and continues through early June on Wednesdays from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. The course also includes 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; no financial documentation required.
Two virtual Open Houses will be offered to help you learn more about the program:
Wednesday, January 6, 2021 – 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, January 21, 2021 – 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Register here: https://extension.psu.edu/master-watershed-steward-open-house
For more information about the Master Watershed Steward Program, please contact program coordinator Natalie Marioni by telephone at 610-378-1327 or by email at [email protected].
The Pennsylvania State University encourages qualified persons 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, please contact us at 610-378-1327 in advance of your participation or visit.