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Day of paddling and service
HANOVER- Ten campers from the Bryant Pond 4H Camp and Learning Center were among last Thursday’s paddlers on the Androscoggin Source to the Sea Trek, a 19-day journey down nearly the entire length of the 170-mile Androscoggin River.
The Trek, organized by the Androscoggin River Watershed Council, celebrates the revitalization of the Androscoggin, which, in the past generation gone from one of the most polluted rivers in the country to a destination for excellent paddling, fishing, and wildlife viewing.
“We believe it is important to get the next generation interested and involved in protecting our water, and the best way to do that is to get them to experience its beauty first-hand,” said Jessie Seymour Perkins, organizer of the Trek.
“The Bryant Pond 4H Camp has a long history of teaching kids about conservation and the natural world, so it’s a perfect partnership. We’re starting small with one day of paddling, but what we really hope to do is encourage future stewardship of our natural resources.”
During the distance from Hanover to Rumford, campers and other participants took up a picnic lunch on an island in the river and learned about brook trout habitat restoration efforts in the area from ARWC staff Jeff Stern.
A couple of the campers noted in excitement that they had to opportunity to see a Bald Eagle swoop down to the water and grab a fish right in front of them. Seymour noted, “It was a very memorable day for all the kids.”
After paddling to Rumford, the campers returned to Moran’s Landing in Hanover to perform site maintenance as a service project.
The ARWC and the Bryant Pond 4H Camp and Learning Center worked with the Mahoosuc Land Trust to identify a service project for the campers to complete along this stretch of river. All three organizations are members of the Bethel Area Non-profit Collaborative (BANC), a group of 15 non-profits in the area with the aim of working together to improve the Bethel community.
Steve Wight, who serves on the boards of the ARWC, MLT, and the 4H Camp as well as co-chair of BANC, lead the day of paddling.
“The Bethel Area Non-profit Collaborative has made it easier for us to work together by strengthening relationships among nonprofits in the area,” said Wight. “This day of getting kids out on the water to learn about their environment is a great result of that collaboration.”
The general public is welcome to join in on the Trek on all upcoming segments. For complete information, visit www.androscogginwatershed.org.