A “tip of the hat” to all who helped with he Spring Adopt-a-Creek event along the Rancocas. In recent weeks, many individuals dedicated volunteer hours in helping get this valuable waterway into ship-shape ahead of the paddling season. Mt. Holly’s Environmental Committee; our watershed ambassador, Angelica; students from Rowan College-Burlington County and from The College of New Jersey; several local businesses contributed to the day’s activities, to include Mt. Holly’s local dining establishments and brew places. A shout-out goes to MUA and MH Public Works for removing debris piles of our volunteers. Thanks also to Lippencott Stone & Gravel, our friendly neighbors along the Oxbow in the very heart of this historic village.
Collaborating with neighbors while finding common-ground in our beloved Rancocas Creek truly helps anchor civic engagement. Promoting greater awareness of this precious resource among local residents and school-age children is central to Rancocas Pathways’ efforts in gaining national water trail designation for the Creek. Promoting water quality and the maintenance of green buffers throughout the watershed is key to our efforts. On this note, Mt. Holly Environmental Committee will host Tree Planting Day on May 11. Folks who support the sustainability of Rancocas Creek & Watershed should plan on supporting this event.
The preservation of the North Branch through activities like the MHEC stablization program is key. Vegetative growth along the Creek’s banks lends itself to what becomes sort of a zone of tranquility. Yet, this vegetation can also invite tangles and snares that collect trash while inhibiting recreational use of the waterway. Occasional clean-up activities help significantly in keeping the waterway clear for humans and wildlife alike.
Let me relate a brief account of a local art student and lifelong resident of Mt. Holly who helped with the clean-up. Filling her kayak with trash while paddling this little gem of a tidal-waterway, she learned of Mt. Holly’s own, local landscape artist, Hugh Campbell. Easing along the tidal current with an “as one with nature” look in her eyes, she discovered a greater relevance, and even importance, for the Rancocas. Volunteering a cheerful, hopeful tone as to how she “naturally” viewed the creek as an expression of “art and soul not unlike a beating heart–alive, vibrant and very dynamic.” She “gets it” and that is precisely what we are hoping to promote more of in the days ahead.
Likewise, other students were bragging about how much they were covered in mud. That is an achievement worthy the bragging! That is what the Rancocas does–it promotes a sense of pride about how our muddy, messy labors are, after all, labors of love. This is worth remembering: It’s not just what we can do for the Rancocas, but an acknowledgment of what but the Rancocas has done for the development and enjoyment of Garden State residents over the generations.
Enjoy a safe, fun and inspirational time walking, recreating or just plain-old relaxing outdoors this springtime. Take time to explore historic Mt. Holly and more fully appreciate how, since 1677, this community has been a beating heart of the Rancocas Watershed even as the Creek itself has served as a source of lifeblood to the growth and development of the Delaware River Valley and the emergence of a new nation “conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all man are created equal.”