Fifth-grade students from Lancaster and York counties recently gathered at Columbia River Park to take part in the Canoemobile program from Wilderness Inquiry, a Minnesota-based organization that connects people to the natural world through shared outdoor experiences. The Canoemobile program was held for students from Oct. 3 to 5, and a public session was offered on Oct. 5. A homeschool session took place on Oct. 4.
When river conditions permitted, some students were able to paddle on the Susquehanna River in 24-foot canoes. They received instruction in canoeing and water safety.
On land, all students participated in field studies, learning about the science, history, geography, and culture in their home towns, including the historical significance of the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail. They took part in team-building activities and visited three stations: "Susquehannock Indians," presented by Paul Nevin from Susquehanna Heritage; "Storm Water and Pollution Impacts on the Susquehanna River Watershed," presented by Pam Goddard of the National Park Conservation Association; and "Wildlife in the Susquehanna River," presented by Curtis Sherwood from Samuel Lewis State Park.
The Chesapeake Conservancy and Chesapeake Bay Office of the National Park Service also collaborated to bring the Chesapeake Roving Ranger to the event on Oct. 3. The National Park Service provided funding and staff support for the program, and the East York Rotary Club provided funding and volunteers. The State Museum of Pennsylvania provided a dugout canoe.
The participating students were from Wrightsville, Canadochly, and Kreutz Creek elementary schools in Eastern York School District; Columbia Middle School - Taylor Campus in Columbia Borough School District; and Friendship Elementary in Southern York County School District.