CCPaSEC logoCentre County Pennsylvania Senior Environmental Corps

at ClearWater Conservancy

 

Pennsylvania in 1997 established the statewide Senior Environmental Corps to offer an organized program of support for senior citizens wishing to become active in protecting the environment, the first state to do so. The State invited EASI (Environmental Alliance for Senior Involvement), a national non-profit, to administer the program in partnership with the PA Department of Environmental Protection and Office of Aging. The program has received favorable national and United Nations notice.

EASI's concept builds on the belief that older Americans have the time, motivation, and talent to tackle some of the most important environmental concerns in their communities. In partnership with the state, EASI organized county PaSEC chapters, trained volunteers to monitor local stream waters, selected initial sites for testing, supplied chemicals and kits and the protocols for using them, and helped the chapters develop self-sustaining leadership. PaSEC chapters got going year by year in 17 Pennsylvania counties.

In February 2002 Centre County PaSEC had its first training program. Stream testing began that April. Organized under RSVP (retired Seniors Volunteer Program of Centre County), the chapter received direction and support from the County Conservation District. RSVP's Bonnie Wick handled administrative matters-insurance and financial accounting-and Conservation Water Specialist Ann Donovan wrote grants and introduced PaSEC to watershed associations and regional groups. Other partners include Trout Unlimited, the Penns Valley Conservation Association (PVCA), the Bald Eagle Watershed Association, the Beech Creek Watershed Association, Lock Haven University, Nature Abounds, and the PA Department of Environmental Protection.

Our members are grouped into thirteen teams, and monitor more than forty-five sites on Centre County streams. Monthly, we test for pH, nitrates, dissolved oxygen, total alkalinity, sulfates, and specific conductance.  Quality Control teams use duplicate samplings and laboratory comparisons to check and upgrade our teams' chemical test results. Twice a year the teams measure the biodiversity of their sites. Physical, chemical, and macroinvertebrate data from each stream is recorded on our web site. More than 15 years of visiting, observing, and testing Centre County streams have given us a detailed baseline awareness that protects the county's water resources.

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