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Friday, April 14, 2017

EARTH DAY

The Sixth Annual Earth Day at the Mill Cove Environmental Area will offer plenty of free, hands-on activities and educational programs for people of all ages, toddlers to adults on Saturday, April 22, between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Mill Cove is located north of Mansfield.
Not only is Earth Day at Mill Cove free and open to the public but fishing rods and archery equipment will be provided free to use during the day. Parking is free, too.

“We offer a wide variety of activities appropriate for children, youth and adults,” said Dr. David Flesch, a retired Mansfield University biology professor, who has chaired this event since 2014. “Everyone will find plenty to do that will inspire them to make every day Earth Day,” he said.

“Over 60 vendors will be selling unique items and food so plan to stay several hours and have fun,” Flesch noted. Barbecued chicken, hamburgers and ribs; maple syrup and honey products; jams, jellies, tomato relish, free-range eggs and certified naturally grown aquaponic salad mix; cotton candy, various flavors of popcorn, peanuts, desserts and coffee will be available.

Earth Day is held rain or shine. “Since you never know about the weather, we recommend everyone bring hiking shoes and rain gear just in case,” said Flesch.

“The purpose of Earth Day at Mill Cove is to showcase Tioga County’s natural resources and the importance of conservation through the Mill Cove Environmental Area. This will be fun learning for everyone,” he added.

Among the wow activities are birds of prey demonstrations, zip line rides and a 1 p.m. concert being given in the main pavilion by Van Wagner of Danville, Pa. Wagner is a singer/songwriter, historian and Pennsylvania logger and coal miner who will sing songs he has written about Pennsylvania’s natural heritage with a focus on this region’s wildlife, forests and coal and lumbering eras.

Free trips on a zip line offered throughout the day will provide an exhilarating way to view Earth Day activities. Riders who weigh more than 60 pounds and less than 250 pounds will climb the stairs, hook the harness to the zip line and take a quick, 125-foot trip from about 25 feet up in the air to the ground.

Cheri Heimbach and her son Jonathan of Baywings Falconry of Lewisburg will do educational falconry demonstrations at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Youngsters may be invited to participate. “We are planning to bring Alice, a Harris’s hawk; Finn, a peregrine falcon; Starlight, a gyrfalcon; Bumper, a screech owl; Owlexander, an eagle owl; Bandit, an American kestrel falcon; and Baywings’ newest bird, a not-yet-named baby barn owl,” Heimbach said. The birds will demonstrate their agility in capturing prey by chasing down lures and flying through hoops. “We do not use live prey during our programs,” she noted. Attendees will learn about birds of prey, where they come from, how they are trained, conservation and their role in maintaining the balance of nature. “These birds serve as our first warning when something is poisoning our environment,” Heimbach added.

Fish will be stocked in the Cove’s pond for the annual fishing derby. There will be fly casting lessons, fly fishing, archery and muzzle loading demonstrations and a marshmallow archery event as well as archery target shooting.

The Lambs Creek Sportsman’s Club will host their signature BB gun shooting contest.

If weather permits, the Mountain Modelaires will fly electric helicopters and small fixed wing aircraft and have computers set up with an R/C flight simulator so people can try flying.

Paul Stillman of Cameron Mills, New York is a Seneca heritage indian. He will be dressed in native attire authentic to the 1750s, including a feather hat called a Gustoweh. He is bringing thousands of wampum and trade beads as well as trinkets to sell. Among the trinkets, which can be added to a necklace, bracelet and earrings, are dragon flies, wolves, bears, eagles, 15-different styles of turtles, evil eye protectors, etc. Stillman will also demonstrate how the Seneca made sinew (muscle fiber) and used it to sew their clothes and how they drilled holes in stones using pump drills and explain why.

Carol Wooley of Mansfield will have Civil War outfits on display and Mel “Longknife” Stafford, a re-enactor portraying an 18th-century explorer and hunter, will demonstrate the equipment, clothing and weapons that mountain men used to survive in the 1700s.

Kiddie Corner will offer activities for toddlers to first graders.

The Mansfield Lions Club will do free vision screenings for youth ages six months to 17-years old.

Mansfield University faculty will also be involved. “We have a host of ecological expeditions planned to provide a more in-depth discovery of the uniqueness of the Northern Tier of Pennsylvania,” said Flesch. “We will be looking more closely at the biology of Mill Creek with water quality testing demonstrations, aquatic insect surveys and a demonstration on calculating water flow in streams.”

Youngsters will be able to plant several types of trees along Mill Creek to serve as a riparian buffer.

A shuttle bus equipped with a handicapped lift will provide free rides to take those who park in the Mill Cove public parking area to the Earth Day registration desk at the entrance to Mill Cove.

Sponsoring Earth Day are Mansfield University and Mill Cove, Inc., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization formed to enhance the area for recreational and environmental education purposes.

For more information about Earth Day at Mill Cove and directions, visit the Mill Cove Environmental Area website at www.millcovearea.org.

Photo by Bob Brown
Van Wagner will perform some of the songs he has written about this area during 
Earth Day at Mill Cove on April 22.

Photo courtesy of Photos by Dart
“Stepping off the platform for the first time can be frightening but the fear disappears as soon as you begin traveling down the zip line,” said a participant at the 2015 Earth Day at Mill Cove. “It was exhilarating.” Give zip lining a try at this year's Earth Day on Saturday, April 22.

Photo courtesy of Photos by Dart
During the 2015 Earth Day at Mill Cove, a crowd gathers to see the European eagle owl perched on Cheri Heimbach’s leather gloved outstretched hand.


Photo courtesy of Baywings Falconry
This is the face of a young barn owl now in the care of Baywings Falconry.

Photo courtesy of Baywings Falconry
One of Baywings Falconry birds of prey flies through hoops during a demonstration.

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