Vol­un­teers make a dif­fer­ence at Kaercher Creek

A group of 15 joined Friends of Kaercher Creek dur­ing clean up event

The Hamburg Area Item - - Front Page - By Lisa Mitchell lmitchell@ 21st- cen­tu­ry­media. com @ kutz­town­pa­triot and ham­bur­gitem on Twit­ter

A group of 15 vol­un­teers joined Friends of Kaercher Creek for a Make A Dif­fer­ence Day cleanup event on Oct. 28 to cut grass, clear paths and clean up trash at Kaercher Creek in Hamburg.

Tim Mazaika, who lives in Tilden Town­ship about four miles from Kaercher Creek, es­tab­lished the non- profit or­ga­ni­za­tion Friends of Kaercher Creek. Mazaika started mow­ing grass on the park side of Kaercher Creek in 2014, when Berks County de­cided not to re­new their lease with the PA Fish & Boat Com­mis­sion.

“I’ve been vol­un­teer­ing much time and ef­fort, es­sen­tially alone, at Kaercher Creek Park,” said Mazaika who has fished at Kaercher Creek since his youth.

He con­tin­ues to fish there ev­ery year but the hip high grasses cre­ated cast and re­trieve prob­lems,

as well as con­cerns about an­i­mals and ticks in the tall grass.

“I took it upon my­self to start cut­ting grass be­cause I fish here,” said Mazaika.

On Oct. 28, Mazaika was no longer alone in his ef­forts to main­tain Kaercher Creek Park for pub­lic use.

“It was a good turnout. They love Kaercher Creek de­spite the cur­rent con­di­tions... and they love to vol­un­teer,” Mazaika said about the Make A Dif­fer­ence Day event. “A great crew. We got a lot done. The place looks a lot bet­ter.”

Mazaika cred­its the good weather for bring­ing out the 15 area vol­un­teers that in­cluded a range of ages from teens to re­tirees, as well as stu­dents in the Kutz­town Univer­sity En­vi­ron­men­tal Ac­tion Club.

Nan Har­rigle, who lives near Kutz­town, was one of the vol­un­teers that day look­ing for some free ex­er­cise and to be out­doors on a nice Satur­day.

“Come help cut weeds and en­joy the park. It’s a beau­ti­ful park and it’s a shame the Fish & Boat Com­mis­sion and the County Com­mis­sion­ers can’t get on the same page. It’s a good cause. Nice lit­tle park and I en­joy it,” said Har­rigle. “Tim has al­ready been cut­ting so I was amazed that he could ac­com­plish by him­self what he has been able to ac­com­plish to keep the walk­ing paths open so peo­ple have some place safe to walk and bike and fish, just en­joy na­ture. It still needs some work but it’s a work in progress.”

An­gel­ica Hum­mel of Bernville and her son, Clay­ton, 14, cleared weeds and painted “Friends of Kaercher Creek” on the side of trash cans. They like to fish at Kaercher Creek.

“We thought we should do our part and help out to­day,” said Hum­mel. “We pulled all the weeds out by hand... It feels awe­some. ( Clay­ton) thought it was a feat that we could not han­dle but a lit­tle bit at a time we did it and now it looks won­der­ful. Yeah, it feels great.”

Hum­mel be­lieves peo­ple should take time to do a lit­tle bit.

“Be­cause lots of hands make lit­tle work, so if ev­ery­body would chip in, just one day here and there, it would go a long way,” said Hum­mel.

The vol­un­teers cleared tall weeds and grass, mowed along walk­ing paths around the lake, col­lected trash, raked leaves, cleared de­bris off the walk­ing path, painted the two re­main­ing benches and placed trash re­cep­ta­cles out with the words “Friends of Kaercher Creek” freshly painted on the side.

Among the vol­un­teers were Mazaika’s sis­ter Rosy Mazaika and her hus­band An­dreas Gute, who live in Ore­gon.

“I’m re­ally proud of ( Tim). I wanted to show my sup­port for him,” said Rosy who raked grass dur­ing the clean up event. “We all grew up here. I ran cross coun­try here. I used to bird watch along the hedgerow and I ended up study­ing ecol­ogy be­cause of the years that I spent watch­ing along the hedgerow here. It played a part in all of our lives in our youth so it’s meant a lot to us, to our fam­ily.”

Rosy is happy to see there are peo­ple in­ter­ested in civic ser­vice and con­tribut­ing to some­thing im­por­tant.

“After work­ing here for three years ba­si­cally by my­self, it’s nice to see that there’s still in­ter­est in the place,” Mazaika said.

He thanked all of the vol­un­teers who came out to the Make A Dif­fer­ence clean up event.

“We want safe and rea­son­able ac­cess. The place was a dis­as­ter area when noth­ing was be­ing done here. The weeds were 3 to 4 feet high. Now it looks like your back­yard. You can get in here safely and en­joy fish­ing.”

Mazaika said Kaercher Creek Park is a place for the com­mu­nity.

“I’ve seen peo­ple here walk­ing. I’ve seen jog­gers, campers, peo­ple read­ing, sun­bathing, just re­lax­ing.”

Mazaika hopes to host a spring clean up, pos­si­bly in April, to cel­e­brate Earth Day.

Mazaika said Friends of Kaercher Creek is in the process of sign­ing an Adop­tAn- Ac­cess Agree­ment with the PA Fish & Boat Com­mis­sion, which will of­fi­cially rec­og­nize Friends of Kaercher Creek for main­tain­ing the park. One of the pro­vi­sions of the Adopt- AnAc­cess- Area- Agree­ment is to post Mazaika’s name as a vol­un­teer care­taker.

Mazaika started a GoFundMe page, www. gof undme. com/ f riends- ofkaercher- creek- park, to raise funds for a rid­ing mower.

For more in­for­ma­tion, fol­low on Face­book at www. face­book. com/ Friend­sofKaercherCreek/.


Vol­un­teers joined Friends of Kaercher Creek for a Make A Dif­fer­ence Day clean up event on Oct. 28to cut grass, clear paths and clean up trash at Kaercher Creek in Hamburg.

An­gel­ica Hum­mel of Bernville and her son, Clay­ton, 14, pulled weeds at the Friends of Kaercher Creek a Make A Dif­fer­ence Day clean up event on Oct. 28.


Nan Har­rigle, who lives near Kutz­town, vol­un­teered to clear weeds at Kaercher Creek in Hamburg dur­ing the Friends of Kaercher Creek Make A Dif­fer­ence Day clean up event on Oct. 28.

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