Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Help Find the Hidden River, Win Money While You're At It

The Strawberry Mansion Bridge over the Schuylkill
A river once described as "foul," "chemically poisonous" and, of all things, "unhappy," leads a much happier life today.

Our own Schuylkill River, however, still suffers from a bum rap.

The folks at the Schuylkill Action Network want to change all that. So they've issued a challenge.

In order to showcase the beauty, fun, and purity of the Schuylkill River they have launched the Schuylkill Shots Photography Contest.

To get everyone in the right frame of mind, I have borrowed a few from Google Images to give you a sense of the possibilities.

The Schuylkill outside Schuylkill Haven
Winners will receive a $300 gift provided by one of three sponsors.

These include the Philadelphia Water Department, Calumet Photo, and REI.  

Other prizes include $100 gift cards for second place and $50 gift cards for honorable mention.

Photographers of any age and skill level can submit up to nine pictures, or three per category.

These categories include Wild & Scenic, Fun on the Schuylkill, and Tip Top Tap.

“Many people only see the river from cars while driving over bridges or past refineries,” said Tom Davidock, Schuylkill Action Network coordinator at the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary.  
The river in Berks County.

“What they don’t see are the forests, fun seekers, and wildlife; all of it made possible by water clean enough to quench the thirst of most Philadelphians.”

The deadline for entries is Oct. 30.  This gives photographers four months and two seasons to capture what artists have tried to depict for centuries.  

During this time, those who follow the SAN on Facebook can watch and comment on each entry as it is uploaded to the Internet.

A panel of judges affiliated with the SAN will select 10 finalists per category by Nov. 15. 
Shooting the 'Chute'

The public will then have one month to vote for their favorites. It is those votes that will determine the winner.

The Schuylkill Action Network is a collaboration of agencies, companies, individuals, and nonprofit organizations founded in 2003 to help clean up the Schuylkill River and the many waterways flowing into it.  

The SAN does this by collaborating on projects in Berks, Chester, Montgomery, Philadelphia, and Schuylkill counties, among others.  In this way it helps to protect nearly 2 million Pennsylvanians, all of whom depend on these waterways for safe drinking water. 
Casting a line at Philly's Farmount Dam

 Since 2003, the SAN has grown to include dozens of local, private, and public members, in addition to its five founders: the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 3; Philadelphia Water Department; Delaware River Basin Commission; Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection; and the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary.

The Schuylkill River travels 130 miles through the cities of Pottsville, Reading, Pottstown, Norristown, and Philadelphia.   

The Saturday Evening Post once described it as “foul,” “chemically poisonous,” and “unhappy,” but much has changed since this 1949 article about coal mines.  
The Flat Rock Rapids

So much has changed that, in 1978, it was the first river included in the state’s Scenic Rivers Program.  

Today the Schuylkill is a source of drinking water for millions of people and a critical source of fresh water for the Delaware River and Bay.

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