Book shares Swatara
For The Daily News
LICKDALE -- Contributors to "Envisioning an Environmental Legacy for the
Swatara," an oral history project, gathered yesterday at Twin Grove Park to
sign copies of the new 182-page book.
A project of the Swatara Creek Watershed Association, the book features
articles on the American eel, history of the Swatara Creek region, mining,
agriculture, recreation and Hurricane Agnes, and abstracts from interviews
with 65 contributors who share their memories of the area. The book includes
photos, maps and recipes for preparing eels.
The project began as a suggestion of Cannon Valley Institute, West
Virginia, which provided camcorders, recorders and training for 12
interviewers and photographers, who sought out area residents and former
residents who had something to tell about life along the Swatara Creek and
its tributaries, said county Commissioner Jo Ellen Litz, president of the
watershed association and editor of the book.
The Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network also sponsored the project. The book,
which cost $16,000 to print, is dedicated to the sponsors and to Fort
Indiantown Gap for its technical assistance.
DVDs of complete interviews will be placed in the historical societies in
Lebanon, Pine Grove and Derry Township, Litz said.
Among the contributors of oral data was Raymond J. Swingholm, Annville,
who described a day in the 1930s when he set out from Hebron in South
Lebanon, where he resided at the time, to follow the Quittapahilla Creek to
Valley Glenn, where it empties into the Swatara Creek.
The Swatara Creek runs about 100 miles as it drains parts of Schuylkill,
Lebanon, Berks and Dauphin counties on the way to the Susquehanna River at
Middletown. Its main tributaries are the Quittapahilla, Little Swatara and
In Craig Morgan's interview, the Pine Grove resident explains the effect
of cattle and dairy farms on the creek and steps that have been taken to
improve its banks.
Verna Miller, Jonestown, recalled the events associated with a store she
and her husband, Harold, ran for 35 years at the west end of Fort Indiantown
And James Logan, Lebanon, recalled swimming in the Swatara and expressed
his continuing interest in seeking wild flowers and birds in Swatara State
Litz said the book will be offered as an incentive to increase membership
in the watershed association. An annual $20 membership will get the
applicant an unsigned book. Those signing up for life membership at $200
will get a signed book, a compact disc of the book for reading on computers
and a compact disc containing an abbreviated version of the book for
listening. Gordon Weise, a newscaster with WLBR, will record the book, she
Litz said that eventually the book will find its way into the hands of
every elected official in the region with the hope that it will be used as a
planning tool. Copies also will be placed in local libraries.
The watershed association, which currently has more than 100 members, is
dedicated to clean water through education, conservation and good
stewardship of the environment.