Volunteers make a difference at Kaercher Creek
A group of 15 joined Friends of Kaercher Creek during clean up event
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.