September 02, 2008

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LEWISBURG, Pa. — Bucknell University will host the third annual Susquehanna River symposium, "The Susquehanna River and Agriculture," on Friday, Sept. 12, and Saturday, Sept. 13.  || Related coverage: WKOK-AM interview 

This annual outreach event is part of the Environmental Center's Susquehanna River Initiative, which is devoted to teaching, research and outreach related to the Susquehanna River.

The symposium is supported by Bucknell University and a grant from the Henry Luce Foundation for the Susquehanna River Initiative.

"Agriculture is one of Pennsylvania's leading economic enterprises, with farmland comprising over one-quarter of the Susquehanna River drainage basin. It's a huge watershed – covering more than 27,000 square miles in New York, Pennsylvania and Maryland – and the river is the largest contributor of fresh water to the Chesapeake Bay," said Benjamin Hayes, director of the University's Susquehanna River Initiative.

"Most farmers are good stewards of their land and have been working diligently to reduce the impact of agriculture to the river. But we still have a long way to go. The scientific findings on the environmental conditions in the river may appear relatively straightforward at first, but the solutions are anything but simple. Current nutrient-management challenges in the watershed threaten the very economic survival of many farms in Pennsylvania. New solutions are needed," Hayes said.

The goal of this symposium is to bring farmers, scientists and the public together for community-wide discussions of the complex issues facing agriculture and the Susquehanna River. "We want to learn more about what the research is telling us, what kind of things can be done, and discuss ways the public can the help," said Hayes.

Registration, events in the tent
The symposium will begin Friday, Sept. 12, with registration from 12:30 to 4 p.m. at a big outdoor tent that will be located on the academic quad between Dana Engineering and Olin Science. Registration costs $10 per person and is required for dinner Friday and lunch Saturday. The presentations and panel discussion portions of the event are open to students and the public, but seating is limited.

Friday events in the tent begin at 1:30 p.m. with presentations on Native American agricultural practices in the Susquehanna River basin, along with display booths. An outdoor picnic dinner featuring locally produced food will be held at 4:30 p.m. under the tent, with entertainment by singer-songwriter K.J. Wagner. Following a welcome from Bucknell University Provost Michael Smyer and opening comments by U.S. Congressman Chris Carney at 5:30 p.m., a keynote address will be delivered by Dennis Wolff, master farmer and Pennsylvania Secretary of Agriculture.

WVIA documentary
Segments of Hearth and Harvest, a new documentary film on Pennsylvania agriculture, will be shown at 7 p.m. in Trout Auditorium of the Vaughan Literature Building. This documentary is being filmed, produced and directed by PBS station WVIA, the PBS station in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

Friday's events close with a student research poster and evening social featuring locally produced wines from 8 to 9:30 p.m. in the Center Room of the Elaine Langone Center.

Saturday: focus on science and agriculture
Saturday's events include discussions on science and agriculture, a lunch-time keynote address by Paul Swartz, executive director of the Susquehanna River Basin Commission, and a closing address by Gary Holthaus, author of From the Farm to the Table: What All Americans Need to Know about Agriculture.

James Rice, associate provost, will speak at 8:15 a.m. in Trout Auditorium, followed by the opening address, "Agriculture and the Susquehanna River," by moderator Cathleen Curan Myers, deputy secretary of Office of Water Management for the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection at 8:30 a.m.

Topics and speakers in Trout Auditorium are: "Nutrient loads in the Susquehanna River" with Karl Brown of the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture at 8:55 a.m.; "Sediment loads in the Susquehanna River" with Allen C. Gellis, U.S. Geological Survey at 9:20 a.m.; and "Agriculture, the Susquehanna River and epidemiological connections" with Brian Swartz of the Geisinger Center for Health Research at 10:30 a.m.

Following a panel discussion with questions from the audience and moderated by Myers at 10:55 a.m., Marel Raub, Pennsylvania director of the Chesapeake Bay Commission  will give a commentary at 11:35 a.m. in Trout Auditorium. The morning session concludes with a keynote address at noon by Paul Swartz in the Terrace Room of the Elaine Langone Center.

Local farmers
Saturday afternoon's focus on agriculture, moderated by WKOK's Mark Lawrence in the Terrace Room of the Elaine Langone Center, will include "Buy Fresh, Buy Local" with Trish Carother of SEDA-COG at 1:20 p.m.; "A Farm Market Example" with Alan Ard of Ard's Farm Market at 1:40 p.m.; "The Commercial Farmer's Perspective" with Jim Brubaker of the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau at 2 p.m.; "The Sewage Treatment Dilemma" with Preston Boop, local farmer and Union County Commissioner at 2:20 p.m.; and "Nutrient Trading" with Cathleen Curan Myers, deputy secretary of the Office of Water Management, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection at 2:40 p.m.

Following a panel discussion with questions from the audience at 3:10 p.m., Gary Holthaus will give a commentary at 4 p.m. in Trout Auditorium. A noted speaker on sustainable agriculture and ethics, Holthaus is the former director of the Northern Plains Sustainable Agriculture Society and is working with the Alaskan School system on teaching sustainable agriculture.

An opening reception for the photography exhibition, 100 Nations: Native Americans in the 21st Century will be held at 4:30 p.m. in the Collaborative Lounge of Bertrand Library. This exhibition, on display until Dec. 18, features the photographs of Obaidulla Mamoon, including Native Americans in Union County, Pa.

More information, including times, location and parking information, is available on the symposium's website.

Contact: Division of Communications


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