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Loving Our Local Waters – Getting Involved in Local Conservation image
September 15, 2022
Loving Our Local Waters – Getting Involved in Local Conservation
Karley Stasko

While the weather is still cooperating, the North Branch Land Trust is looking for “citizen scientists” to help gather data on local wildlife and habitat. They’ve partnered with The PPL Foundation and The American Water Charitable Foundation to host two, exciting citizen science events this September.

Let’s Bio-Blitz: Become a Citizen Scientist with North Branch Land Trust


Exploring nature and helping out a good cause.

If you enjoy getting out in the wilderness, taking pictures, learning about the environment, and getting just a little bit messy, then you might be the citizen scientist North Branch Land Trust is looking for! North Branch Land Trust is a regional non-profit committed to conserving the natural, agricultural working, and scenic lands in Northeastern Pennsylvania. This month, with the support of American Water Charitable Foundation and PPL Foundation, the Land Trust is inviting the community into the field to provide insight in the health of our habitats and learn a bit more about the plants, animals, birds and insects that inhabit them!

Citizen scientists are members of the community who assist in observations, gathering data or testing hypotheses with or without a science background. Environmental groups depend on citizen scientists because they can provide a larger scope of data points. If you have participated in Audubon’s Great Backyard Bird Count, PA Game Commission’s Wild Turkey Sighting Survey or posted a find to the species identification application iNaturalist, you have worked as a citizen scientist!


Young Citizen Scientists at the George and Lillian Picton Wildlife Sanctuary in Foster Twp. (Photo Courtesy of North Branch Land Trust)


Anyone can be a citizen scientist.

According to Ellen Ferretti Executive Director of North Branch Land Trust “It is exactly this kind of tangible connection to the land that creates a passion for conservation and awareness of the natural world…and all its wonders!” North Branch Land Trust is engaging passionate citizen scientists this autumn with multiple opportunities for conservation fun out in the field.

On September 21 and 22, citizen scientists of all ages can assist Senior Energy and Sustainability student Melissa Lopez from Penn State University at the Hanover Crossings Marsh Bio-Blitz. If you have comfortable walking shoes and a device with a camera, you can help gather data on the numerous species that inhabit the marsh. This data will help North Branch track invasive and native species and guide our restoration efforts.



Help protect local water.

On September 24, young conservationists also can join North Branch at the George and Lillian Picton Wildlife Sanctuary for Loving Our Local Waters/Amando Nosotros Aguas Locales. Participants will learn about our local watershed, explore the waterways of Picton Wildlife Sanctuary, and help create signs to protect our local natural resources. At the conclusion of this educational workshop, NBLT will host a bilingual stewardship sign design contest, including digital transformations of designs created during this workshop.


Pond Trail at the George and Lillian Picton Wildlife Sanctuary


Bringing the community closer to nature.

It is important to engage both the community and up-and-coming leaders in the natural settings right here in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Melissa Lopez told North Branch, “The outdoors has always been my happy place. As I became older, I realized more and more that the earth must be protected so future generations also have the ability to enjoy the beauty this world has to offer.” Lopez developed the Bio-Blitz event as a means to share her formal knowledge outside of academia and to encourage everyone to take active steps in mitigating the effects of climate change.  “We are thrilled to have Melissa join our team. We cannot wait to hear all about her adventures exploring these great outdoor Preserves,” said Executive Director Ferretti.



Taking the classroom outside.

Professor Brandi Robinson from Penn State University is excited to see her students out in the field. “Having the chance to collaborate with local community partners like North Branch Land Trust provides our graduating Energy and Sustainability Policy students a unique opportunity to apply the concepts and skills they’ve cultivated in their classes out in their communities where they have broad and tangible impact.”

These citizen science events have been made possible through the American Water Charitable Foundation 2022 Water and Environment Grant, PPL Foundation’s 2022 Sustaining Grant, and support from North Branch Land Trust members. Community-focused charitable organizations are vital for nonprofits seeking innovation in the ways they impact the region.

If you would like to participate in these events, please visit our events page or contact North Branch Land Trust at