Mill Cove Earth Day moves to Smythe Park in Mansfield

Mill Cove Earth Day moves to Smythe Park in MansfieldCheri Heimbach is shown with one of her birds of prey during a demonstration at last year's Earth Day event. She and her son will be giving two demonstrations this year on Saturday, April 20 at 10:30 a.m. and 12:15 p.m. They are free. Photo credit: John Eaton.

The Eighth Annual Earth Day will be on Saturday, April 20, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Smythe Park in downtown Mansfield rather than at the Mill Cove Environmental Area as it has been since the first Earth Day in 2012. Earth Day is free and open to the public and will be held rain or shine. No dogs or smoking are allowed in Smythe Park.

The Mill Cove Environmental Area is located on the Mill Creek arm of Tioga Lake. Between last year’s and this year’s Earth Day that area was subjected to severe flooding. 

“We were told by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that more than 60 inches of rain fell in the Tioga and Cowanesque River basins compared to 25 inches the year before,” said Dr. David Flesch, who has chaired Mill Cove Inc.’s Earth Day since 2014.  He added, “When the waters receded, debris covered Mill Cove and has to be removed and the area is a muddy mess. Earth Day should be able to return to Mill Cove in 2020.”

“The good news is that we are offering plenty of free, hands-on activities and educational programs for people of all ages, toddlers to adults at Smythe Park even though we cannot hold any of our planned water events there,” said Flesch. “Everyone will find lots to do that will inspire them to make every day Earth Day.

Mill Cove Earth Day moves to Smythe Park in Mansfield
Pictured is a zip liner at Earth Day. “Stepping off the platform for the first time can be frightening but the fear disappears as soon as you begin traveling down the zip line,” said a participant. “It was exhilarating.” Zip lining is offered free at this year’s Earth Day on Saturday, April 20. Photo credit: John Eaton.

There will be archery demonstrations and a marshmallow archery event as well as archery target shooting. Archery equipment will be provided free to use during the day. Parking is free, too.

Among the free “wow” activities are two birds of prey demonstrations, zip line rides throughout the day and at 1:30 p.m. Van Wagner of Danville, Pa. presenting a program on the history of coal mining in this area followed by a concert during which he will play guitar and sing his original folk songs.

Free trips on the zip line will provide an exhilarating way to view Earth Day activities. Riders who weigh more than 60 pounds and less than 250 pounds will climb the stairs, hook the harness to the zip line and take a quick, 100 to 110-foot trip from about 25 feet up in the air to the ground.

Cheri Heimbach and her son Jonathan of Baywings Falconry of Lewisburg will do two 40-minute educational falconry demonstrations, the first at 10:30 a.m. and the second at 12:15 p.m. They are bringing Radar, a barn owl; Starlight, a gyrfalcon; Sonora, a Harris’s hawk; Owlexander, an eagle owl; Finn, a peregrine falcon; Ember, an aplomado falcon; and Bubba, a rescued screech owl. The birds will demonstrate their agility in capturing prey by chasing down lures and flying through hoops. Live prey is not used. Attendees will also learn about the role these birds play in maintaining the balance of nature.

Kiddie Corner will offer activities for toddlers to first graders. Mansfield University’s Geosciences Department is planning a hydrological model demonstration. The Mountain Modelaires will fly small electric helicopters and quad copters and have a computer set up with an R/C flight simulator so people can try flying. The Mansfield Lions Club will collect used eyeglasses for recycling. Youth will be invited to assist in planting trees in Smythe Park.

“More than 50 vendors will be selling unique items and food so plan to stay several hours and have fun,” Flesch said. Barbecued chicken, hamburgers and ribs; maple syrup and honey products; jams, jellies, tomato relish and free-range eggs; cotton candy, various flavors of popcorn, peanuts, and dessert and coffee will be available. 

Sponsoring Earth Day are Repsol, Dominion and Mill Cove, Inc., a 501©(3) nonprofit organization formed to enhance the area for recreational and environmental education purposes.

The GPS address for Smythe Park is 23 Dorsett Dr., Mansfield, Pa. 16933. The park’s main gate is on South Main Street (Business Route 15) in the borough. North Penn-Mansfield High School at 73 West Wellsboro St. (U.S. Route 6) is at one end of the park and the Warren L. Miller Elementary School at 1 Dorsett Dr. is at the other. 

To participate as a vendor, demonstrate outdoor skills or present a program or for more information about Earth Day at Smythe Park and directions, visit the Mill Cove Environmental Area website at www.millcoveinc.org or contact event vendor manager Patricia Butts at (570) 463-1407 or by email to pbutts6610@yahoo.com.  

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