Summer is unofficially here, and it's time for some fun in the sun - and a ton of activities at Codorus State Park.
Park naturalist and environmental education specialist Wendy Looker said while state parks exist for recreational purposes and the public's enjoyment of the great outdoors, there is also an important stewardship component to their mission. Teaching people, especially young children, about the importance of the outdoors will help insure its protection and survival for future generations to enjoy, she said.
"When some people think of wetlands, they think of a smelly, buggy place," Looker said as an example. "But it has value. Wetlands purify the water downstream, and they have such a diversity of life."
The programs, which have been running for 40 years, encourage visitors to admire nature and learn about all the critters there, from the tiniest insects dancing along the surface of the water to the endangered osprey who have made their home in a nest near the lake.
One popular program this summer is called "Library Along Lake Marburg," which runs from 10 to 11 a.m. Thursdays. The free, weekly program will be held throughout the summer for children in kindergarten through third grade.
"Library Along Lake Marburg" is a collaborative effort between the park and Hanover's Guthrie Memorial Library featuring a reading from a wildlife book, as well as related crafts and games in the classroom on Marina Road.
The annual "Breakfast with the Bluebirds" program is back, and will be held from 9 to 10 a.m. each Friday at the park visitor's center through the end of the bluebird nesting season in late July. Looker said visitors can bring a brown-bag breakfast, and trek around the park to check out the eggs, and even hatchlings, spending their first weeks of life in homemade bluebird boxes.
If you'd like to see bigger birds like eagles, heron and osprey, as well as the wildlife that takes up residence along the water's edge, the park offers wildlife kayak tours. For $15, you get everything you need - a kayak, paddle, vests and waterproof binoculars - and take a guided tour through the coves of Lake Marburg.
Tours run from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays and Fridays and from 8 to 9:30 a.m. Sundays through the summer. Call 717-637-2816 for reservations. Tours meet at chapel cove on Blooming Grove Road.
For a more leisurely tour of life on the water, visitors can go on a pontoon cruise from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Saturdays and from 8 to 9:30 a.m. Sundays. The cost and reservation numbers are the same as the kayak tours.
And Saturdays through the summer will feature programs at the campground amphitheater. The topics change weekly, and can range from games and crafts to walks through the woods to spot wildlife. These programs are held from 3 to 4 p.m. and from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. Saturdays.
- Steve Marroni, FlipSide staff
If you go
LOCATION: Codorus State Park, 2600 Smith Station Road, Hanover
DETAILS: The park will be pretty active this summer with plenty of fun and activities. For details, call 717-637-2816