PIQUA — Students, faculty, staff, and friends of Edison State Community College came together for an educational kayak trip down the Great Miami River during the fourth annual “Float, Learn and Feast” event on Friday, April 23, 2021.
Organized by the Edison State Student Senate, the event brought together nearly 20 participants who embarked on the Miami River at Roadside Park to experience beautiful weather and wildlife along the way.
Jeff Lange, founder of Protecting Our Water-Ways (POWW), has joined the Edison State group to travel down the Miami River each year.
“POWW is a nonprofit organization that I started back in 2004. We are responsible for cleaning up the Great Miami River, starting in Sidney at the Big Four Bridge all the way to Great Miami River Trail near Bridge Street. In our 17-year history, we’ve removed 194,500 pounds of trash in our sixteen miles of adopted river,” said Lange.
“As POWW got more involved and started getting more and more trash out the river, Piqua and other communities started seeing what a beautiful natural resource the river is. The Miami Conservancy District has always been a sponsor of activities on the river. These activities on the river are now flourishing because people realize it is beneficial to have your people in your towns enjoy your natural amenity and this river is a beautiful natural amenity. More people are kayaking, canoeing, stand-up boarding, fishing, wading, and even tubing in it. We’re happy to be here today and to have this group have fun in it.”
Participants boarded Edison State kayaks, which were purchased using funds raised during Down a River, Down a Beer Festival (DARDAB), and in partnership with the city of Piqua’s River Stewards Program and POWW.
“DARDAB is a festival for drinking really good beers and ales from around the world. Proceeds from the event go back to the community, specifically to higher education institutions. Edison State Community College and Upper Valley Career Center have been recipients of kayaks and equipment through DARDAB,” added Lange.
During the float, Lange provided information on water cleanliness. Wildlife and environmental characteristics were also observed and discussed. The float ended at the Great Miami River Trail near Bridge Street. Participants were treated to a boxed lunch from Susie’s Big Dipper and listened to a presentation from Dr. Sarah Hippensteel Hall, manager of Watershed Partnerships for the Miami Conservancy District.
The Student Senate wishes to thank the following individuals and organizations for their contribution to the event: DARDAB for their donation, which funded the kayaking equipment; Nate Cole and Dustin Wenrich, for assisting with transportation and for delivering lunches; Tom Burelison, Nicholas Rudy, Jeff Schwilk, and Chuck Whitney from the Edison State Maintenance team for transporting the equipment to and from the drop points; and Jeff Lange, from POWW, and Chris George from the DARDAB Executive Committee for serving as guides and local river conservation experts; and Dr. Sarah Hippensteel Hall from the Miami Conservancy District for her presentation on river preservation.
For information on upcoming “Float, Learn and Feast” events, email [email protected]