Charles Fox - President
David Flesch - Vice President
Marilyn Jones - Secretary
Rob Carleton- Treasurer
David G. Lamphier - Asst. Treasurer
James D. Baker
Melvin Cummings (Tioga Township)
Dr. Scott Davis (Mansfield University)
C. Fred LaVancher
Ruth Ann Shumway
Dr. Lee Stocks (Mansfield University)
Charles Dillion - (Advisory Member)
Mark Hamilton - (Advisory Member)
Steve Hoover - (Advisory Member)
Robert Schnell - (Advisory Member)
Tioga County's Hidden Natural Landscape
Mill Cove, Inc., aims to strike a careful balance between minimizing human impacts on the Mill Cove Environmental Area and making strategic use of this valuable resource. The goal of Mill Cove is to provide opportunities for environmental and recreational education now, and for the future.
2017 ANNUAL REPORT
BY MILL COVE, INC. FOR THE
MILL COVE ENVIRONMENTAL AREA LEASE
PURPOSE: The Mill Cove Environmental Education Area (Mill Cove), leased from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) in 1999, is managed for education, recreation and research. The property is also managed for wildlife propagation and observation, hunting, fishing and conservation. Mill Cove, Inc. (Mill Cove) makes the facilities available to a variety of individuals, groups and organizations engaged in education, environmental activities and research. Principal among these groups is Mansfield University which has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with Mill Cove to utilize the area for education and research purposes.
The Strategic Master Plan for the Mill Cove Environmental Area was approved by the Baltimore District of the Corps on November 17, 2011 and has been updated and filed with the Corps on several subsequent occasions. All of the activities noted below are in keeping with the approved Master Plan.
Except when organized activities are in progress, the entire area is open to the public for hiking, hunting, fishing, and other outdoor activities. This document provides an overview of 2017 accomplishment and plans for 2018.
Mill Cove had a very productive year, including the 6th Annual Earth Day Event, Tioga County Honor Guard 5K Run, Earth Camp, Environmental Education Day and several other educational programs and research projects. 2017 also saw the completion of the Mill Creek Streambank repair and Growing Greener Grant, the Mill Creek Trial, and Cabin Run Bridge plans. This year, students, teachers and residents from throughout the Twin Tiers participated in many recreational and educational opportunities. With these opportunities, we continue to support the Mill Cove mission of “facilitating the enhancement of the Mill Cove for recreation and environmental education.”
2017 started in February with the 4th Annual Step-Outside Ski and Snow Shoe Event coordinated through the Tioga County Step-Outside Program, which was sponsored by Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Mill Cove, Inc., the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Wellsboro Parks and Recreation Department and the Partnership for Community Health. In spite of the lack of snow, event attendees enjoyed a nice hike up Cabin Run Creek and were afforded some great photographic opportunities.
On April 22, 2017, the 6th Annual Earth Day Event again saw over a 1,000 individuals of all ages for another outstanding day of outdoor learning and hands on activities. The event included seventy vendors and activity stations for toddlers to adults, including singer song writer and environmentalist Van Wagner mini-concert. Vendors provided information about the climate, our resources, and what we can do to preserve and conserve these resources. Everyone had an opportunity to participate in something.
The Mill Cove Environmental Education Area was host to the Environmental Education Day on April 27, 2017. Eighty (80) high school students from across the northern tier of Pennsylvania rotated between 13 hands-on stations demonstrating fisheries, water quality, outdoor recreation, geology and more. Students “heard from Ben Stone, park operations manager from the Hills Creek State Park Complex, about career opportunities and John Szentesy, associate director of Financial Aid, about Mansfield University admissions and financial aid.” This day event was funded by a grant from Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.
The Tioga County Honor Guard hosted the 4th Annual 5k Race on June 10, at Mill Cove with over 50 runners participating.
June 21 was Mill Cove’s 9th Annual Membership Meeting. Officers and Directors were elected, along with Dr. Mary Robinson-Slabey, Mr. Thomas Freeman and Ms. Lilace Guignard being recognized with a Certificate of Appreciation for their support and service throughout the years to Mill Cove, Inc. Also, President Fran Hendricks awarded the MU President’s Coin of Excellence to Mr. Charles Fox, Mr. David Flesch, Ms. Marilyn Jones and Mr. Bruce Dart in recognition of their service to Mill Cove, Inc.
Mansfield University hosted a one day camp, “Gear Up Camp”, for students entering the 10th grade from the Allentown, Norristown, Lancaster and Harrisburg metropolitan areas. The camp was focused on Health Careers, encouraging students to continue their education past high school by introducing them to various career paths. The camp was funded through a grant from the PA System of Higher Education.
July 9 through 11, Mill Cove was the host site for Earth Camp: Climate Change for seventeen, 13 to 17 year old students, from area junior and senior high schools. The students participated in a grant-funded 4-day residential camp. The Institute of Science and the Environment at Mansfield University organized the program, with faculty and students from the Department of Geosciences, along with community volunteers, leading the activities. Campers enjoyed hands-on learning experiences in the natural world, outdoor recreation, teamwork activities and films. This camp was made possible through a Shell Appalachia grant to Mill Cove.
We held the first Basic Pistol Course on October 14 at the Mill Cove, Inc. shooting range, with 7 attendees. All successfully passed their skills and written tests.
The area was also utilized for several community oriented events including Boy Scout campouts and hikes, wedding, birthday parties and numerous individual visits for simply enjoying this excellent natural area.
2017 PROPERTY IMPROVEMENTS:
Bank Stabilization: Through a PA Growing Greener Grant, Mill Cove, Inc. undertook the rehabilitation and stabilization of approximately 755 ft. of bank along Mill Creek. This construction included a rock bench, which has been established as a handicap fishing trail and access to the bench and the Mill Creek Trail. All total, the $147,500 project re-established a badly eroded bank, moved Mill Creek back to its original location and has established an area for handicap individuals to utilize for fishing along the creek.
The Mill Creek Trail: Mill Creek Trail is a 3,250 ft. long path, running parallel with Mill Creek, starting at the handicap fishing trail and extending past the large pavilion and connecting to the access to the fishing pond. This trail will provides access to an area of Environmental Education Area that has not been fully opened to the public and will make access easier as it will be trimmed up and marked with trail markers.
Signage for Area: The Environmental Education Area has been in need of good signage, directing individuals to various locations within the area, providing information about how to reserve a pavilion or the area, who sponsored the construction of a trail or the bank stabilization project. These directional and informational signs were installed in 2017 and some additional information signs will be installed in 2018.
Cabin Run Creek Bridge: The plans for constructing a new bridge over Cabin Run Creek are being completed by Larson Design Group. Plans are in the making for conducting constructing between April and June 2018.
Invasive Species: Mill Cove continues to monitor and keep areas mowed that had invasive species removed three years ago. The mowing keeps these species from returning and helps improve the area to its pristine condition.
2017 MANAGEMENT ACCOMPLISHMENTS
Mill Cove, Inc. contracted with AJH Design in May 2016 to develop and design the plans and specifications for the Environmental Education Center. Those plans included the Education Center building, parking, road access, care taker pad, water and sewer services and environmentally friendly materials for the construction of the building. We have met throughout 2017 to develop these plans and specifications to assure at minimum Silver LEED Certification.
The By-Laws Committee of the Board of Directors took direct action this year to update the Corporation’s By-Laws, to assure the By-Laws reflected changes and updates needed and that a complete set of By-Laws were filed in the Corporation Book at the Mansfield Chamber of Commerce.
Updates to the Master Plan were submitted in December 2017 and approval was received in early 2018. These updates included the location of the Environmental Education Center, road access to the Center, retention pond and the septic field for the Center, and the Mill Creek Trail.
The Board continues to strengthen its relationship with Mansfield University through the Fisheries and Geosciences Departments. Using the existing MOU, the Board of Directors and Professors continue to work utilizing the area for teaching, studying and hands on training purposes both in the Fisheries Department and in the Geosciences Department. The research experience provides the hands on work that students need for taking into the working world. Whereas the data collected provides data for the Mill Creek Watershed and even world-wide significance.
PLANNED ACTIVITIES & IMPROVEMENTS:
Activities - Starting in February 2018, Mill Cove will host the 5th Annual Step-Outside Ski and Snow Shoeing event with Tioga County Step-Outside Program. Then on April 21, Mill Cove will host the 7th Annual Earth Day Event, to include vendors and activities for all ages. Then we will host the 3rd Annual Environmental Education Day at Mill Cove, through a grant from DEP. In June, we are expecting to host the 5th Annual Tioga County Honor Guard 5K Run at Mill Cove Environmental Area. July we will see the 33rd Annual NRA Youth Hunter Education Challenge. Further, we anticipate holding additional teacher and student workshops to advance the understanding and complexity of the Mill Creek ecosystem.
Improvements - Property improvements planned for 2018 include the completion of plans and specifications for the Environmental Education Center and begin the grading of the building site, roadway, retention pond and septic field.
CERTIFICATION: To the best of our knowledge, this report constitutes the 2017 accomplishments of development and management of the Mill Cove Area. All requirements of the lease agreement have been met, including compliance with the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act. Mill Cove, Inc. is an equal opportunity organization and requires “non-discrimination” practices in any activity conducted at the Leased Area.
I certify that this report was reviewed and approved by the Mill Cove, Inc. Board of Directors at the _________________________ Board Meeting held at the Mansfield Borough Office.
Marilyn K. Jones, Corporate Secretary