York City youth cast their lines into Codorus Creek at the Youth and Family Fishing and Conservation day (Photo by Jodi Sulpizio, Penn State)
After heavy rains two days prior, the sun was shining the afternoon of September 29th as about eighty youth from the city of York dangled fishing rods into the swollen, muddy Codorus Creek in hopes of catching a hungry fish. The goal of the Youth and Family Fishing and Conservation Day was to not only introduce youth to fishing, but to also teach them about conserving and protecting the waterway meandering through the city. Thanks to previous and continuous conservation efforts and tougher regulations on big polluters, the Codorus Creek’s water quality has drastically improved over the last 20 years. The water quality can still improve, but it is once again home to quite a variety of wildlife ranging from smallmouth bass and sunfish to great egrets, great blue herons and bald eagles.
The Master Watershed Stewards in York partnered with the Mid-Atlantic Youth Angler and Outdoor Partners and the Lower Susquehanna Riverkeeper Association to offer this event at downtown York’s Codorus Boat Basin in Foundry Park. Program partners and volunteers introduced youth to fishing and stations were set up so they could practice fly casting and spin casting. Fish printing and face painting were a hit and participants learned all about watersheds, aquatic invasive species and macroinvertebrates -- both important water quality indicators. Throughout the evening, State Representatives Keith Gillespie and Kristin Phillips-Hill, Mayor Michael Helfrich, the PA Fish and Boat Commission and the Penn State Nittany Lion stopped by and could be found baiting a hook, measuring a fish or pausing for a photo. It was a fantastic day and participants stayed throughout the evening, catching a variety of species from the once heavily-polluted Codorus Creek. By educating youth today, our hope is they will have a greater appreciation for the waterway and will help protect it in the years to come!
Forming and maintaining partnerships is key to building a successful Master Watershed Steward Program. Many thanks to the Mid-Atlantic Youth and Outdoor Partners, the Lower Susquehanna Riverkeeper Association and especially to the York County Community Foundation for grant funding that helped make this event possible.
Go to the York County Master Watershed Steward Program website or contact Jodi Sulpizio, Natural Resources Educator at firstname.lastname@example.org or 717-840-7429.