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Environmental Center Sets Events June 22, 2017

Governor Dick Environmental Center, 3283 Pinch Road, Mount Gretna, has posted three upcoming programs. Participants should meet at the Environmental Center. Programs are free unless stated otherwise, but preregistration is required. For more information or to register, readers should email governordick@hotmail.com or call 717-964-3808 and leave a name and phone number in case a program is canceled.

A Snake's Birthday will take place on Saturday, July 1, at 1 p.m. Attendees will celebrate Snoop the Snake's second birthday by hearing stories about snakes, learning about the snake's way of life, and pinning the tail on the snake. Cupcakes will be provided. Registration is required.

On Sunday, July 2, at 8 a.m., the center will offer a fast-paced 4- to 6-mile fitness hike.

Music on the Porch will feature a bluegrass music jam on July 2 from 1 to 4 p.m.

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Summer Camps Scheduled June 22, 2017

In 2017, summer camps will be offered at the Lancaster County Environmental Center, One Nature's Way, Lancaster. There is a cost per camper, and preregistration is required.

Camps will include Times Gone By: Native American and Pioneer Life from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. from Monday, July 10, to Thursday, July 14, and is open to children age 8 and older. Wings and Things will be offered to children ages 6 to 9 from 9 a.m. to noon from Monday, July 31, to Friday, Aug. 4.

For details, including a full schedule of summer camps, and registration, readers may call 717-295-2055 or visit www.lancastercountyparks.org.

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GVWA Posts Summer Camps June 21, 2017

It is not too late for youths to take part in the Summer Nature Day Camps being held at Green Valleys Watershed Association (GVWA). Camps take place at Welkinweir, GVWA's headquarters, a 197-acre nature sanctuary and arboretum that includes ponds, streams, meadows and forests.

Camps began on June 19 and will run weekly on Mondays through Fridays, through Aug. 11. Each camp week has an independent theme and is open to 4-year-olds through seventh-graders. Themes include animal adaptations, water conservation, insects, birds, nature's artists and outdoor survival skills.

Camp days begin at 9 a.m. and run until noon for 4-year-olds and children entering kindergarten. Children entering grades one through seven attend camp from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily. Parents who need extended-day activities for their children can register for before-camp care or after-camp care for additional fees.

Dawn White, GVWA's environmental education coordinator, said that the camp activities can be adapted when hot and humid weather hits the area. "(On hot days, children) play some water games and will visit the stream," she explained. "We have an air-conditioned building, so groups can rotate between (outdoor) activities and indoor activities like microscope viewing, crafts and sit-down games."

Campers are grouped by grade levels, and participants learn through hands-on exploration and activities, such as hiking in the woods and meadows of the nature preserve, searching for wildlife in its natural habitats, making nature-inspired art and more. Every Friday, all campers enjoy a campfire with s'mores provided by GVWA. At the end of the day, campers present the highlights of their week for their families.

Each group of campers is led by adult camp counselors. "There is a senior counselor, a junior counselor and volunteers, so there are at least two staff (members) per 13 children," White stated. "For the younger kids, second grade and under, there are at least three staff (members)."

White announced that the following weeks of camp currently have open spaces: for children age 4 and entering kindergarten - all weeks through Aug. 11; for children entering grades one and two - July 5 to 7; for children entering grades three, four and five - July 3, 5 and 7; July 10 to 14; July 17 to 21; July 24 to 28; and July 31 to Aug. 4; and for children entering grades six and seven - July 10 to 14 and July 17 to 21. Children may also be placed on waiting lists for camp weeks that are already closed.

To inquire about availability before registering, readers should contact White at dwhite@greenvalleys.org or 610-469-8646. Camp registration procedures are available at www.greenvalleys.org/summer-nature-day-camp.

The GVWA also maintains a Summer Nature Day Camp Scholarship Fund to assist families that cannot financially afford to send their children to camp. "We still have nine kids who want to come to camp and are waiting for scholarships," White noted. For information about donating, readers may visit the previously mentioned website and scroll down to "Contribute to Summer Camp Scholarships."

The GVWA and Welkinweir are located in East Nantmeal Township at 1368 Prizer Road, Pottstown. Individuals may visit www.greenvalleys.org for more information.

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Armyworm Targets Variety Of Crops June 21, 2017

Farmers in the area have begun to harvest their barley crop and are finding damage from armyworms, extremely severe in some cases. The larval stage of armyworms feed on a wide variety of crops, including small grains, such as barley, and wheat, grass hay, and corn.

The armyworm is nocturnal and thus, not noticed during the day. Typically, leaves of grass plants are eaten away leaving only the stems or in the case of corn, the mid-rib of the leaf remain. In small grains, leaves are eaten but the most damaging effect is the feeding on the stems just below the grain head just before the crop is harvested, cutting through the stem leaving unharvestable heads on the ground.

After damaging a field or after that field is harvested, the armyworms move to adjoining fields, preferably other grass type crops, and begin feeding again until the larvae reach a size of 1 to 1.5 inches at which they end feeding and begin metamorphosis.

Farmers are urged to check their fields, especially wheat, for the presence of armyworm damage. Because the insect is active at night, scouting for larvae should be performed in early morning or just before dusk.

Because head clipping is so destructive of wheat yield, insecticide application should be made if two percent of heads are clipped and larvae are present. For corn, threshold for insecticide treatment is 25 percent of corn plants damaged and larvae are present.

For more general information about armyworms, readers may view the fact sheet at http://ento.psu.edu/extension/factsheets/armyworm.

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Environmental Center Sets Events June 21, 2017

Governor Dick Environmental Center, 3283 Pinch Road, Mount Gretna, has posted two upcoming programs. Participants should meet at the Environmental Center. Programs are free unless stated otherwise, but preregistration is required. For more information or to register, readers should email governordick@hotmail.com or call 717-964-3808 and leave a name and phone number in case a program is canceled.

Summer Story Forest will be offered on Friday, June 23, at 10:30 a.m. The event, for children ages 3 to 10, will feature a story and a themed hike related to the book. There is a fee to participate.

A Senior Walkabout will be offered on Sunday, June 25, at 1:30 p.m. The easy-paced hike of 2 to 4 miles is for hikers over age 50. The group will meet at the Route 117 parking lot.

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Environmental Science Day Camp Set June 21, 2017

Penn State Extension/Chester County 4-H and local park rangers will offer a hands-on Environmental Science Day Camp from Monday to Friday, July 10 to 14, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. daily at Nottingham Park, 150 Park Road, Nottingham. Youths age 8 and up may participate.

The camp will include daily hikes with a park ranger, science experiments, games, and activities such as making plaster animal tracks, nature journaling, and water testing. Topics will include invasive and endangered species, animal signs, insects and reptiles, tree identification, aquatics, and fishing. Campers will go fishing on the last day and learn to make a fisherman's knot to tie on their hooks.

Participants should dress for weather; the camp will take place rain or shine. Registration for the 4-H Summer Specials programs are processed through the Chester County Extension office. The registration form for the upcoming camp and other opportunities is available at http://extension.psu.edu/4h/counties/chester. Scholarship assistance is available. For more information, readers may call the Extension office at 610-696-3500.

Anyone who anticipates needing any type of accommodation or who has questions about the physical access provided may contact Toni Stuetz at the aforementioned number.

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Car Care Tips For Warm Weather June 21, 2017

When the weather warms, many people take to the outdoors to enjoy the sunshine and rising temperatures. Summer road trips or vacations are the norm, but it is important to realize that hot weather can take its toll even on a new, well-maintained vehicle.

High temperatures can cause all sorts of damage to a vehicle, from zapping battery power to overtaxing the cooling system. Recognizing potential hot weather risks and performing routine checks on the vehicle are the keys to keeping vehicles in top form.

Excessive heat can shorten the life of a battery, because it causes battery fluid to evaporate more quickly. This, in turn, can damage the internal structure of the battery. AAA reports that car battery issues are the most common breakdown calls.

It is a good idea to top off a battery with distilled water, if it is the kind that requires it. Low-maintenance batteries may not have filler caps and will not require water. Inspect the battery for corrosion and leakage of battery acid. This could be a sign that the battery is getting old and will need to be replaced.

Cooling systems work hard to keep the flow of air to the engine and prevent it from overheating during warm seasons. Compromised cooling fans or lack of coolant can be troublesome. To avoid overheating, drivers should check coolant levels before getting on the road. In addition, drivers should have the cooling system checked by a trained mechanic prior to the summer driving season. It is a small price to pay to avoid extensive engine damage from overheating.

Hot weather causes the pressure inside of tires to rise. Overinflated tires can wear down prematurely or result in blowouts. The Car Care Council recommends checking tire pressure routinely in the summer, when tires are cold. Follow the guidelines in the owner's manual for recommended air pressure. Drivers should look for improper tread wear, weak spots, or other tire damage that may end up causing flats.

Hot weather can put extra demand on all fluids and engine components. Drivers should check transmission fluid, power steering fluid, brake fluid, and engine oil levels. Fluids should be topped off or changed when necessary.

Drivers should plan ahead for potential summer breakdowns by bringing along water, snacks, sunscreen, and an emergency medical kit. Mobile phones should be fully charged, and the number of a tow service or roadside assistance crew should be entered into the list of contacts in the event of an emergency.

With warm weather road trips beckoning, it is time to plan accordingly to prevent breakdowns that can derail fun.

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Program To Focus On Butterflies June 14, 2017

A Butterfly Identification Workshop and Walk will be offered on Sunday, June 25, from 9 to 11 a.m. at the Green Valleys Watershed Association (GVWA) at Welkinweir, 1368 Prizer Road, Pottstown.

Staff and naturalists at GVWA will teach participants the basics of butterfly identification and how to support butterflies on attendees' own properties.

Workshop attendees will then practice their identification skills on a walk around Welkinweir's gardens and meadows. Butterfly observations will be recorded as part of a pollinator citizen science initiative. Participants will take home a pocket field guide to Pennsylvania's most iconic butterflies and moths.

The program is funded in part by the Pennsylvania Recreation and Park Society and a grant from the Environmental Stewardship Fund under the administration of the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Bureau of Recreation and Conservation.

Butterflies and other pollinators are in need of increased conservation efforts to support their populations, and thoughtful planning of gardens and open spaces can help to sustain them.

No butterfly identification experience is necessary. Those who attend the workshop are asked to dress for the season and wear sturdy shoes. They are advised to bring binoculars, a camera, and water. The program will begin at Welkinweir's Education Barn; parking will be available in the visitor parking lot off 1368 Prizer Road, approximately 1 mile west of Route 100 just south of Pughtown.

Separate program fees have been set for GVWA members and for nonmembers. Payment is due by the start of the program. The event will be postponed to Saturday, July 1, at 9 a.m. in the event of rain.

To register in advance, readers may contact Kelsey Stanton at kelsey@greenvalleys.org or at 610-469-4900.

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York County Food Guide Available June 14, 2017

The 2017 "Buy Fresh Buy Local" (BFBL) Food Guide is now available at businesses, libraries, York County Visitor Center locations, and Rutter's Farm Store locations throughout York County. The food guide includes detailed information on more than 60 BFBL partner farms, markets, bakeries, restaurants, nurseries, butchers, and wineries and other locations where consumers can find farm-fresh products.

This year's cover illustration was painted by local artist Michael Nevin Walker.

For more information, readers may visit www.buyfreshbuylocalyork.com.

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Pocket Field Guide Available June 14, 2017

The Arbor Day Foundation offers a book that helps people identify trees in a simple, step-by-step process. "What Tree Is That?" is available for a nominal donation to the nonprofit tree-planting organization."What Tree Is That?" is a fun, easy-to-use tree identification guide that features hand-drawn botanical illustrations highlighting the distinctive characteristics of many tree species.

Nature lovers and professional arborists alike have called the pocket field guide a must-have, user-friendly resource. Its full-color illustrations are in precise detail and depict natural colors, shapes, and textures so users can make a positive species identification in just a few easy steps.

The Arbor Day Foundation offers the book to help people identify trees throughout the Eastern and Central regions of the United States. "What Tree Is That?" uses a step-by-step approach for identifying the species of each tree, explaining what to look for in the shape of the leaves, differences in the leaf stems and twig structures, and specific characteristics of fruits, flowers, buds, and bark.

"What Tree is That?" is also available as an online interactive version at www.arborday.org. To obtain a tree identification guide in full color, readers may send their name, address, and the required donation for each guide to What Tree Is That?, Arbor Day Foundation, 100 Arbor Ave., Nebraska City, NE 68410. The book can also be ordered at www.arborday.org.

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