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Keystone Students Learn About Local Ecology, Celebrate Cook Forest & Clarion River

Friday, October 4, 2019 @ 12:10 AM

Posted by Joanne Bauer

IMG_5778 (1)COOKSBURG, Pa. – Seventh grade students from Keystone Jr./Sr. High School and the senior high ecology class visited the Clarion River and Cook Forest State Park on Friday, September 27, to learn about the local ecology, as well as celebrate the 2019 PA River of the Year.

Mrs. Pamela McCandless, a Life Science and Biology teacher from Keystone, organized the entire event.

Seventh grade students historically travel each fall to the Beaver Creek Nature Area; therefore, an opportunity to visit the Clarion River and Cook Forest State Park was a natural fit for their fall field trip.

The seventh grade students spent time at a number of different stations while visiting the park. Local professionals and volunteers spent the day sharing their expertise on a number of topics.

Tricia Mazik, from the Clarion Conservation District, shared expertise on soils, as well as explaining the acid mine drainage remediation on Tom’s Run to the Ecology class. Another teacher from Keystone, Josh Almes, led the students on a satellite geography lesson.

Clarion University of Pennsylvania Biology professor Dr. Andrew Turner, along with a handful of university students, spent time explaining how to test and sample the chemical and biological aspects of the river. Dr. Turner expounded on the history of the Clarion River and the changes in water quality over the past century.


In addition, Mrs. McCandless led the students in testing the chemical and physical properties of the Clarion River.

The students even learned about fly fishing from the Iron Furnace Chapter of Trout Unlimited and were taught how to cast.


A River Walk was led by Dale Luthringer, the Environmental Education Specialist from Cook Forest State Park. He explained the history of the Clarion River and showed the students historical sites along the river bank.

A special thank you goes to all of the professionals and volunteers who gave their time and talents.

A retired science teacher from Keystone Jr./Sr. High School, Mr. Gary Whitling, who started the field trips to the Beaver Nature Area, gave his time and came back to help. North Clarion Area School District also contributed equipment for the fly casting. The local chapter of Trout Unlimited, Iron Furnace, donated equipment, funds, and expertise to make the day a success. Finally, a thank you to the teachers and Keystone Area School District for making this unforgettable experience possible.

(Article and photos by Matt Baker, Keystone Jr./Sr. High School biology teacher.)

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