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Watershed in a forrest.
The 9th Lehigh Valley Watershed Conference is out to generate greater awareness about the protection of water and land resources. Photo: Pixabay.

Penn State sponsors 9th Lehigh Valley Watershed Conference

The conference happens next Tuesday, March 14 in the STEPS building at Lehigh University.

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The upcoming 9th Lehigh Valley Watershed Conference held at Lehigh University and sponsored by Penn State, will bring together community organizations, municipal officials, educators, students, scientists, technical experts, natural resource agency staff, and industry representatives to discuss effective ways to improve and protect land and water resources throughout the world.

About the conference

Titled "Endemic Watershed Connections: Place, Preservation and Restoration," the conference will feature four themes, with four different sessions to choose and 16 total events.

One of the themes, 'Indigenous Perspectives,' includes sessions on issues facing Indigenous peoples and their communities today, Indigenous ceremonial landscapes, a Native American art presentation, and a roundtable discussion with citizens of the Delaware Nation of Oklahoma and a Choctaw filmmaker who documented their experiences in the Delaware River Basin in 2016.

The other sessions:

  • A real-time stream accessible to all
  • Volunteer resources for Community Watershed organizations
  • A discussion about The Clean Water Act and state water quality regulations
  • A talk about historic and current relationships between precipitation and flooding in the Lehigh Valley, and the challenges of managed retreat
  • Community-based relocation in response to climate change

A full-day MS-4 track is also featured for city staff and consultants tasked with implementing stormwater regulations. Continuing education credits will be available to engineers and landscape professionals.

The conference, which draws citizen scientists, environmental professionals, and area volunteers, is a collaborative effort organized by the Lehigh University Environmental Initiative, Penn State Extension, Northampton County Parks & Recreation, Lehigh University Institute for Indigenous Studies, Nurture Nature Center, Northampton County Conservation District, and Watershed Coalition of the Lehigh Valley.

The keynote speaker will be Dr. Julia King, Professor of Anthropology at St. Mary's College of Maryland, who will address St. Mary's' partnership initiative with the Rappahannock Tribe to identify and prioritize land for conservation, preservation, and acquisition in the Chesapeake Bay region.

A full screening of the film The Water Gap: Return to the Homeland and a presentation on Ceremonial Landscapes will take place the weekend before the conference, along with an art exhibit at the Nurture Nature Center in Easton.

When and where?

The 9th Lehigh Valley Watershed Conference will be held from 7:45 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Tuesday, March 14 at the Lehigh University STEPS Building, 1 West Packer Avenue, Bethlehem, PA.

The cost for the full-day conference is $65, which includes conference sessions, sponsorship displays, breakfast, lunch, and light refreshments.

Lehigh University students with university IDs may attend free of charge. Other college students with IDs will be charged $30. All students must register prior to the conference and include their university affiliation.

To view the conference schedule or register online, click here.

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