’burg and Beyond

In Lewisburg and far afield, Bucknell’s students and staff make a positive and palpable difference.
From left: Hanna Holmes ’23, Eleanor Geno ’23 and Sarah Preston ’25
Photo: Emily Paine
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From left: Hanna Holmes ’23, Eleanor Geno ’23 and Sarah Preston ’25
" "South Williamsport, Pa.
On the bank of the Susquehanna River in South Williamsport, Pa., lies a nearly 230-acre plot with a history tracing back centuries — from the Indigenous people who first settled the land to the birding expeditions of environmentalist Robert Porter Allen, who rescued entire species from extinction in the 1940s. Today, Sylvan Dell is Bucknell’s newest site for student exploration and discovery, thanks to a collaboration between local partners and the Bucknell Center for Sustainability & the Environment (BCSE).

What They Do
Since spring 2021, students have pursued historical, environmental and civil-interest projects on Sylvan Dell’s wetlands and former farmstead. They’ve charted the site’s environmental features, crafted proposals for a regenerative agricultural farm and hosted a public “bio blitz” to identify local animal species.

This past summer, Eleanor Geno ’23 began investigating the history of an Indigenous village that may have once existed where a nearby oil terminal now sits.

“The presence of this village was well documented during the oil farm’s construction in the 1950s, yet little else is known about it,” says Geno, a history and environmental studies double-major. She’s working with local historical societies and state agencies to recover the site’s history.

What They Do
While Sylvan Dell is one of the largest remaining floodplain wetlands on the Susquehanna’s west branch, the marsh is now only a fraction of its original size. In addition to helping restore the wetland, the partnership is “providing research opportunities for students and faculty across Bucknell’s three colleges,” says BCSE program director Shaunna Barnhart. “And it’s a great opportunity to collaborate with local partners based on shared values.”
— Brooke Thames