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Frog Fest promotes environmental education

psheehan@centredaily.com

Colored plastic balls made an unusual — but educational — appearance at Penns Creek on Saturday afternoon.

As part of the seventh annual Frog Fest at Muddy Paws Marsh, Penn State student Melanie Nowin and recent graduate Joe Chandler entertained children by using the plastic balls to show how riparian buffers — vegetated areas on banks of waterways — intercept pollutants.

The kids dumped a bucket of water on the plastic balls, which represented sediment and garbage.

Some stuck in the grassy area, or buffer, while others made their way into the creek.

Norwin said the goal was to simply show how important those buffers are in keeping harmful substances, or in this case plastic balls, out of waterways.

“We’ve been in the area working with local third- and fifth-graders though the week, and now here today to help educate more kids and adults in the community on things about the environment,” said Nowin, who, like Chandler, is an environmental resource major.

Frog Fest is an outdoor education event founded by Mary Kay and Greg Williams, owners of Muddy Paws Marsh on Penns Valley Road, and is organized by Penns Valley Conservation Association.

The plastic ball exercise was just one of the day’s activities. Others included searching for frogs and tadpoles with herpetologist Jim Julian, live animal shows presented by Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center and a fly-fishing activity.

“The mission is to educate people, but also engage them in the kind of environment they like to engage in,” PVCA Education Coordinator Jim Flanagan said. “Some people like to sit and listen to the nature around them, others want to get their hands dirty.”

Britney Milazzo: 814-231-4648, @M11azzo

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