The focus of this semester was community involvement and Earth Week. We held an"Educating for Earth Day" event for children in the community at the Clarion Free Library on Main Street in town, organized by the chapter's Vice President, Brianna Henry. The event was geared toward education about the recycling process in the area, as well as features of the local ecosystems and general information about living more harmoniously with our environment. The children that attended were given an outdoor journal that was made for the event, with field guide information about local animals, and activities to be completed on outdoor adventures.
Earth Week this year reduced itself back to a week filled with events, speakers, and volunteering opportunities. During the week of April 22nd-26th, we hosted talks by Dr. Suzie Boyden and Kirk Johnson, Birds of Prey and Exotic Animal shows, EcoJeopardy, and open mic night, and a "recycled jungle" themed art show. Our events ranged from 30-200+ individuals in attendance. Every day, we set-up two information tables and had some form of volunteering. Over all, we picked up over 50 bags of trash, and had over 100 volunteers over the course of the week. Thanks to all those who helped or attended, and special thanks goes to the Wildlife Society at Clarion University for sponsoring the Birds of Prey and Wild World of Animals shows.
Thanks to Randa Lewis, our Fundraising Committee Chair, for teaming up with the art department and organizing a pottery sale to raise money for our chapter!
This semester, Ruma Chatterji, our Outreach Committee Chair, held the Walk for Water for the second year in a row. With this event that promises to be an annual tradition from our SCB Chapter, Ruma continues to make the students and citizens of Clarion aware of their water use and the struggles that others go through just to acquire clean drinking water.
Dr. Andrew Keth allowed students to plan a club camping trip on his property, which proved to be an overnight filled with fun and outdoorsy excitement. Additionally, Dani Schaut planned a trip for chapter members to Elk County, where we got to experience the elk first-hand... a first-time experience for some!
SMOKEY MOUNTAIN TRIP
Over Spring Break, 12 students embarked on a trip to the Smokey Mountains, to spend the week camping and hiking in the area. The first stop on this long trip was the Ohio Amphibian Research and Conservation Conference, where the students spent the day listening to presentations about up and coming amphibian research in the area. The keynote speaker, Tyrone Hayes, gave an incredible presentation on the work he does to assess the impacts of chemicals in birth control medications on frog populations. After this day of soaking in the possibilities of future careers, the students were left inspired and ready to head down south. Most of the time was spent in North Carolina camping, and about halfway through the trip, we got to the main event: a hike on the Baxter Creek trail that totaled 12 miles and brought us to the top of the second highest peak in the Smokies. Before heading home, we stopped and took a tour of a bog site in Shady Valley, TN that's monitored by The Nature Conservancy there.
EARTH WEEK SERIES
This year we continued our tradition of celebrating Earth Week in Clarion, but this time we stepped it up a notch, extending the series over the month of March, leading up to Earth Day. The spacious arrangement of events allowed for more focus on each one, and of course allowed for more events! We hosted the Wild World of Animals show, a Birds of Prey presentation, Eco-Jeopardy, and speakers relating to Cook Forest, Giant Salamanders of PA, The Battle for Wilderness and Green Hobbies. We also held an art show, which was ocean-themed this year. Additionally, we had information tables set up in the lobby of the science building every day that there was an event, and we had volunteer opportunities available over the course of the month. Thanks to everyone who attended or helped to make this year's Earth Week Series AWESOME!
Fall 2011 - A Walk for Water Event organized by Ruma Chatterji, The Outreach Committee Chair was held on October 21st at 10 a.m. The event raised awareness of American's complacent use of water and the effort that people in other countries must give to attain just a few gallons. Carrying buckets a mile down hill to the river, we filled our buckets and began the hike up hill back to campus. Realizing very quickly that carrying water requires a great deal of physical strength, we were humbled by what others must do. When everyone finally arrived back to campus, we carried our water to a nearby stream and returned our water back to the Clarion waterways. The first three attendees back to campus were awarded prizes for their strength. Thanks to all of the 30 people who attended this event and to Ruma Chatterji for a great Bios Club event.
Thank to Phil Agosti for several fundraisers for The Bios Club, The Center for Conservation Studies, and The World Wildlife Fund! Phil organized a baked sale, the making of hundreds of bracelets for the CCS fundraiser, and a information table on Emperor Penguins that was held at The Clarion Mall on opening night of the movie, Happy Feet. GOOD JOB PHIL!
Spring 2011 -
With climbing a mountain in mind, 10 Bios club members traveled to Central America to the country of Belize. We arrived in the country and after a 3 hours bumpy bus ride, we were finally at The Cockscomb Basin Jaguar Sanctuary. The next day we were hiking in the jungle, 19 km later we collapsed at camp. With the mountain top still 8 km up hill, most were too exhausted to carry on the next morning. Waking up before 5 a.m., 5 brave souls and two guides started up the hill. Within minutes two turned back, leaving three to continue the climb. Would we make it ? In record time, three Bios Club members reached the top of the second tallest mountain in Belize, Victoria Peak by 9 a.m. Upon reaching the top, we were greeted by fiery orchids, a rarity only seen on two mountain tops, a king vulture flying in the distance, and a view that would forever remain in our hearts. Only spending 20 minutes at the top, we climbed back down the mountain returning quickly to camp with food and stream-bathing in mind. Due to unfortunate circumstances, we were then required to carry our gear back another unplanned 7 km. Frustrated and exhausted, we realized the power of the human spirit and body. Arriving at camp, finally to rest, we laid in the stream exhausted, but feeling like heroes.
After our adventures in the jungle we traveled via a two hour boat ride to an island off the coast of Belize. Over the next few days we baked in the sun, observed blue-footed boobies in one of the few remaining rookeries, and scuba dived in amazing places. Our bravest members dove almost 200 ft into THE blue hole and through the darkness saw unique cave formations and Caribbean reef sharks patrolling. With the trip ending with a viscous storm, sleeping on concrete, and an upset stomach, we all left having climbed our own mountains and with stories we'll tell throughout our lives.
For the second annual CU Earth Week Festival we included an animal show, a canceled birds of prey show, Ryan Miller from The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, Julie Graf for Sustainability, and Claire Orner from Quiet Creek Herb Farm on Worm Composting. Speakers, information tables, and volunteering showed attendees the power of the individual and that anyone can make a difference.
With a jungle-themed art show held in the Science and Technology Center, over 100 artists from the university and community contributed pieces. Following the art show, an open mic was held where attendees could sing or tell nature stories.
Volunteering resulted in 50 bags of garbage and recyclabes, the cleaning of The Clarion Area School District Nature Trail, and the installation of over 20 blue bird boxes in state game land 303.
GOOD JOB BIOS CLUB AND THANKS TO ALL WHO ATTENDED!
Update: Bios Club has partnered with The Center for Conservation Studies (CCS), Inc a nonprofit organization established by our advisor, Andrew Keth. This non-profit will oversee the construction of the Clarion-Limestone Amphiban Research Center (CLARC), which will be located in the block building and greenhouse on the grounds of C.L. The establishment of a culture room has begun and permits have been approved to collect a small population of Spotted Salamanders for uninvasive research. Both university and high school students will be involved in research and education.
Fall 2010 -
Bios Club, Now a Chapter of the Society for Conservation Biology!
As a chapter of a global conservation society, we coordinate with professionals from around the world, have access to journals and publications, and access to jobs and internships. Bios Club members are encouraged to become a member of SCB for $20. Visit conbio.org to join!
Our Chapter Name: 'The Western Pennsylvania Bios Chapter'
Ron Gagliardo, an amphibian ark training officer spoke in September to over 100 university students and community members. After telling us what amphibians are and where they live, he told us the problems that they face and the factors that have resulted in what some are calling The Global Amphibian Crisis. Half of the 6,000 amphibian species described are predicted to be extinct within decades. With habitat destruction, pollution, and now disease destroying amphibian populations around the world, Gagliardo told us the importance of amphibians and why we should help them before its too late.
Inspired by this talk, a partnership between Clarion University and Clarion-Limestone School District began which will result in the construction of an amphibian research center and non-profit organization to be named. Bios Club will partner with this non-profit and research facility to help amphibian conservation. This partnership will result in research and education opportunities that Bios club members can take advantage of.
THANKS TO ALL WHO ATTENDED.
Spring 2010 -
The Clarion University BIOS Club recently coordinated a community-wide Earth Week celebration. Beginning Monday, April 19 nightly events were held on the Clarion University Campus and in downtown Clarion.