Ryan Fielden June update

It’s been hot this June, but we were still able to get out have some fun this month. I organized a clean-up in Brownsville at Central Park and the Brownsville Riverside Wharf Park. The River Town crew all helped out to trim hedges and trees, cut grass, pull weeds, and pick up trash. We also all went to California for a work day this month. We removed invasive species and cleared the view of the river. You can now see the river from the library in California, where before the river was completely hidden behind a wall of trees.

I finally, for the first time in my life, became certified in CPR and First Aid earlier this month. These certifications prepared me to be the lead safety coordinator for the Mon River Sojourn. The sojourn was an 8.5 mile canoe/ kayak trip down the Mon from Rices Landing to Fredericktown. We also made a little side trip up Ten Mile Creek. All our River Town corps members volunteered to be safety boaters for the paddle, and everything went great. We had very positive feedback from our over fifty river enthusiasts who joined us on the trip. After the paddle, we enjoyed some delicious food at the Ribfest in Fredericktown.

Marah and I attended both the Izaak Walton League of America and the Warrior Trail Association meetings this month. At the Izaak Walton League meeting, Ken Dufalla gave a heartfelt presentation on the state of water in the area. Citizen watershed monitors test local streams for pollutants, and they have found some alarming results that are very similar to the readings after the Dunkard Creek disaster. Ken is working to spread the word as much as possible on the current state of water quality in the creeks that eventually empty into the Monongahela River. The Warrior Trail meeting was a fantastic time. We had the pleasure to see Ernie Hawkins perform the guitar finger picking style of Gary Davis, which was an absolute honor. I also picked up some paint from the association so we can re-mark the old, faded trail blazes when we do our work hike on the Warrior Trail soon.

In my free time this month, I joined our crew in the Oyster Race. We had a blast biking around thirty miles, running four miles, and kayaking one mile throughout the city of Pittsburgh. I went camping a couple times this weekend too. Presque Isle State Park in Erie had a nice bike trail and a really cool environmental center with plenty of displays to interact with. I also camped next to the Allegheny River and caught a couple smallmouth bass off our canoe. Finally, I went to the Modest Mouse concert in Pittsburgh and enjoyed some great live music at the sold out show.