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News in brief

June 1, 2011

‘Life Under A Log’ leads to real-life learning

HONESDALE, PA — Rachael Bayly, left, Samantha Howey and Gage Simons met a ringneck snake, a harmless, diminutive woodland inhabitant, during a new outdoor education program that took place at the Stourbridge Primary Center in Honesdale, PA recently. Second-grade classes participated in the exploratory woodland ecology program on the school grounds.

Following preparatory classroom activities, students ventured outside with customized pictorial field guides, clipboards and pens, magnifying glasses and an animal and plant checklist. They were introduced to basic concepts in ecology, including the importance of decomposition in forests, and explored the community of salamanders, invertebrate creatures and fungi that inhabit rotting logs and the undersides of rocks.

Tree and wildflower identification, past agricultural use of the woodlands and 350-million-year-old sandstone outcroppings were also topics for discussion. Tick-avoidance strategies were taught and put into practice. The program is an extension of the science and writing curriculum at Stourbridge and is supported by Reining Forest Products and the Honesdale Parent Teachers Association.

Earlier this year, students were introduced to wildlife tracking (see www.riverreporteronline.com/feature/16/2011/04/19/earth-awareness). They are also involved in a new gardening project at the school featuring raised beds. The programs are developed and conducted by John Jose of Otter Creek Environmental Education Services, Beach Lake, PA (www.ottercreekenved.com).

NY AG files lawsuit against DRBC

ALBANY, NY — New York State Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman filed a lawsuit on Tuesday, May 31 against the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) for its failure to undertake full environmental review of its proposed regulations for natural gas drilling in the Delaware River Basin.

Schneiderman had warned last month that he would take legal action, if necessary, to compel such a study, based on the requirement of the National Environmental Policy Act that federal agencies conduct a full review of actions that may cause significant environmental impact. Last week, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the lead federal agency on the DRBC, indicated that it would decline to do so.