Aerial view of campus with Williamsport, the Susquehanna River and Bald Eagle Mountain as a backdrop

Lycoming College Clean Water Institute interns participate in river symposium

Lycoming College Clean Water Institute interns participate in river symposium

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Lycoming College Clean Water Institute (CWI) interns and faculty presented posters at the eighth annual Susquehanna River Symposium, which was held on Oct. 18-19 at Bucknell University. The theme of the conference was “A Fragmented System — Dams on the Susquehanna River” and many of the presentations and posters highlighted research on the Susquehanna River.

The symposium focused on the effects of a variety of dams on the river, from pre-historic glacial ice dams and historic mill, canal and logging dams, to modern hydroelectric, flood control and recreational dams.

The meeting also served as an outlet for the Susquehanna River Heartland Coalition for Environmental Studies to feature its annual report. This year, two CWI interns – senior biology major Chelsea Brewer and sophomore biology major Miranda Giraldo – researched and co-edited the report with Renee Carey of the North Central PA Conservancy. Research posters by more than 100 students and faculty members were presented.

Besides Brewer and Giraldo, Lycoming students who participated were senior biology majors Jenna Baker, Lynette Dooley, Sarah Fetherolf, Brian Gordon, Laura Shelmire and Cory Trego; junior Alyssa Sechler; sophomores Clayton Good and Sarah Pedrick; senior chemistry major Emily Vebrosky; and 2013 graduate Quentin Reinford.

The students were accompanied by faculty members Mel Zimmerman, Ph.D., biology professor and director of CWI, and Peter Petokas, Ph.D., biology and CWI research associate. Zimmerman directs the environmental science program and teaches courses in ecology, aquatic biology, invertebrate zoology, environmental science and tropical marine biology. His research and publications deal with stream ecology and restoration, wetland ecology and wastewater biology.

Petokas previously taught human anatomy and biology general education courses at Lycoming before becoming the first research associate in the history of the college. Petokas’ work with CWI is primarily in the area of stream restoration incorporating elements of Natural Stream Channel Design. His projects include developing an inventory of stream restoration projects in Pennsylvania and constructing an online database of reference reach data.

Lycoming College is a four-year, residential liberal arts and sciences school dedicated to the undergraduate education of 1,400 students. Its rigorous academic program, vibrant residential community and supportive faculty foster successful student outcomes. Lycoming offers 36 academic majors and is recognized as a Tier 1 institution by U.S. News & World Report. Founded in 1812 and located near the banks of the Susquehanna River in Williamsport, Pa., Lycoming is one of the 50 oldest colleges in the nation. For more information, visit