2018 Spring LC Magazine

CLEAN WATER INSTITUTE A Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Growing Greener Grant helped Zimmerman establish the CWI in 1999. Partnering with watershed groups, the CWI provides education and protects the water quality of the West Branch of the Susquehanna River and its tributaries. “I had already been working with students on watershed projects, so we used the grant money to help local watershed groups with stream restoration,” says Zimmerman. “Eventually the Susquehanna River Heartland Coalition for Environmental Studies, a consortium of six colleges in Central Pennsylvania, widened our reach. It has been a great source of collaboration.” Now, every summer there is funding to support more than 40 student interns, 8-12 of those from Lycoming. CWI river and watershed monitoring expanded in 2010 when the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission asked for help establishing baseline water quality data, as Marcellus Shale Gas Drilling became more widespread. The pilot program, a partnership with King’s College, was meant to assess 20 streams to see if they could support live, reproducible trout populations. That became almost 60 streams, and currently 15 colleges are part of what has become the Unassessed Waters Program, which allows Fish & Boat to monitor changes that are affecting hundreds of streams in the region. Student projects span from storm-water management to studying hellbenders, large salamanders whose long-time presence can give insight into local environmental health. They also develop curricula and run programs for youth at the Waterdale Education Center in collaboration with the Lycoming College biology and education departments, Williamsport Municipal Water Authority, Lycoming County Conservation District and Lycoming Audubon Society. SUSTAINABILITY ON CAMPUS Creation of the environmental science minor was led by Zimmerman, as was the sustainability minor, which extended a connection between business and ecology and led to a sustainability initiative on campus coordinated by a student, faculty and staff committee. “We do an annual campus energy audit,” Zimmerman says. “We also coordinate Recyclemania, TerraCycle, and run the Food Recovery Network, where every day, students collect unused food from the dining hall and transport it for use by the American Rescue Workers.” Zimmerman’s initiatives have become a legacy built on student learning and the role of science in protecting the environment. “As an educator, I’ve always been a hands-on person,” he says. “That’s why I started these initiatives — to give students practical experiences.” That’s why I started these initiatives — to give students practical experiences. 19 www.lycoming.edu