January 15, 2008


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LEWISBURG, Pa. — Watershed: The Journal of the Susquehanna, a new annual publication exploring issues of the Susquehanna River region, will premiere later this month during a kick-off celebration at Bucknell University.

The 72-page publication is edited by Jerry Wemple, who grew up in Sunbury and teaches at Bloomsburg University.

The inaugural issue of the journal, which includes articles, short stories, poetry, and photography, is free. It will be distributed at libraries, coffee shops, book stores, and other locales. To obtain a copy by mail, send a postal address to river@bloomu.edu.

Copies of Watershed also will be available at a debut party and meeting of the Susquehanna River Heartland Coalition for the Humanities at the Bucknell University Environmental Center on Jan. 28 from 4:30 to 6 p.m.

Susquehanna River Heartland Coalition
The idea for the journal sprang from discussions within the Susquehanna River Heartland Coalition for the Humanities, a group of academics, officials from conservation groups and governmental agencies, and others interested in developing ecological approaches to the cultural and literary heritage of the region.

The coalition, headed by Alfred Siewers, assistant professor of English at Bucknell, supported Wemple's vision for the publication as part of its efforts to encourage regional environmental humanities projects, as did H.W. "Skip" Wieder, director of the Susquehanna River Heartland Coalition for Environmental Studies. The endeavor was funded by a grant from the Degenstein Foundation.

According to Siewers, Bucknell has been involved through the Bucknell University Environmental Center's Susquehanna River Heartland Humanities Council (SRHHC) "as part of the University's efforts to build bridges to the region.

"Jerry Wemple deserves many props for his hard work and vision for this significant regional project, which it's hoped will include an ongoing focus on both environmentally related science and cultural issues involving the Valley," said Siewers.

According to Siewers, the SRHHC also is planning to host summer institutes focused on developing an on-line environmental history and guide to the Confluence area, with an emphasis on early Native American and European contacts in the Chief Shikellamy era, based on research by Bucknell professor of German and humanities Katherine Faull. Other projects include helping to encourage establishment of a state river heritage district by SEDA-COG, a regional development and planning agency.

Buffalo and canoe trips
"All the work in the Watershed journal focuses on the Susquehanna River region in one way or another," said Wemple. "The Susquehanna watershed is a big area, encompassing more than 27,000 square miles of land in portions of New York, Pennsylvania, and Maryland. Like the varied environment of the watershed, the journal provides a place for the varied voices. We were fortunate to receive submissions from many talented people.

"We have an interesting article by Van Wagner and Karl Shellenberger about the possibility of buffalo living in the region up to the colonial era. Many folks know Van as a musician and teacher at Lewisburg High, but he is a good researcher and writer as well," he said.

The inaugural issue of Watershed features work by several local award-winning poets including former Selinsgrove resident Sandra Kohler, Williamsport resident Marjorie Maddox, and Todd Davis, who teaches at Penn State-Altoona.

Carol Denny of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation wrote about a youth-group canoe trip down the length of the river, from Cooperstown, N.Y., to Annapolis, Md. Charles Rice contributed a short story in which the protagonist works at a radio station housed atop a hill near the confluence of the river’s two branches.

The first issue also includes an article by Bucknell senior James Rickard, based on his summer McKenna research project on James Fenimore Cooper and the Valley, which he presented at a river gathering at Bucknell's Environmental Center last fall.

Journal a labor of love
Wemple characterized the work on the journal as a labor of love. "Like virtually all the contributors to the journal, I believe our area has something special to offer," he said.

"The goal of the journal was to capture bits of experiences and visions of the region. People who live here will definitely find things they recognize and identify with, but visitors and newcomers will also gain insight into the Susquehanna region." He said plans are for the journal to continue publishing annually.

Wemple is the author of two poetry collections, co-editor of "Common Wealth: Contemporary Poets on Pennsylvania" and has published essays and reviews in numerous journals. Megan Angstadt of Middleburg, a Bloomsburg University junior majoring in creative writing, is Watershed's managing editor.

For more information about the Susquehanna River Heartland Coalition, visit http://www.paenvironmentdigest.com/newsletter/default.asp?NewsletterArticleID=3105&SubjectID

For more information about the Bucknell University Environmental Center, visit http://www.bucknell.edu/EnvironmentalCenter.xml

Contact: Office of Communications

Posted Jan. 15, 2008

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