College partners with community and Olivet for trail cleanup

READING, Pa. — Penn State Berks students, community members, and children in the City of Reading will gather in Northwest Reading to clean up a one-mile section of the Schuylkill River Trail, from the River Road trail head across from Baer Park to the Buttonwood Street Bridge, on Friday, Oct. 6 (rain date Oct. 20). A private clean-up event will be held with the children and students from Penn State Berks from 4 to 5 p.m. Students, faculty, staff and community members are encouraged to join a public clean-up event from 5:15 to 6:30 p.m.

Volunteers will meet at the Schuylkill River Trail intersection at River Road across from Baer Park (close to 825 River Road, Reading, Pennsylvania, 19601). Parking is generally available on River Road and the streets surrounding Baer Park. 

This event is part of an ongoing collaborative effort between the Penn State Berks Center for Service Learning and Community-Based Research, the City of Reading, the Olivet Boys and Girls Club, and the Friends of the Schuylkill River Trail in Northwest Reading. The goal is to maintain this one-mile section of the Schuylkill River Trail in Northwest Reading as a safe green space for the Reading community to enjoy. 

The project began in the spring of 2015 and has continued enthusiastically with cleanups and other events held each semester. This fall, the cleanup will be held in conjunction with a Penn State Berks Earth Systems science class that will be conducting water testing along the Schuylkill River later in the semester with 20 Olivet Boys and Girls Club children. A follow-up event will be held in December with the children to learn about the results of their water testing. The overall goal is to foster the students’ and children’s love of nature and conservation, while learning science together as a team.

About the Center for Service Learning and Community-Based Research

The Penn State Berks Center for Service Learning and Community-Based Research supports faculty who involve their students and community partners in collaborative, impactful work. Service learning and community-based research are two instructional strategies that contribute to community well-being and simultaneously enrich students’ course learning. Since its founding in 2010, the center has facilitated nearly 40 academically grounded college-community partnerships. Going beyond conventional concepts of public service that emphasize a one-way process in which the University transfers its expertise to the community, service learning and community-based research is a commitment to sharing and reciprocity, partnerships, and two-way streets defined by mutual respect among the partners for what each brings to the table.

About the Schuylkill River Trail

With 60 miles of completed trail, the Schuylkill River Trail stretches portions of trail from Pottsville to Philadelphia. The trail is used for biking, hiking and other outdoor activities. Trail users can also utilize the river for fishing, kayaking, and in some areas, motor boating.

For additional information, contact Michelle Hnath, program assistant in the Center for Service Learning and Community-Based Research, at 610-914-7595 or [email protected].