The Northern Lehigh Historical Society (NLHS) held its monthly meeting at the Lehigh Gap Nature Center. President Ted Kistler talked about plans for the 8th annual Gathering (a festival held in October) and the possibility of building a roof for the stage in 2012.
Pete Papay, Construction Chairman of the Venture Group trailhead project gave a progress update of the facilities being built at Main and Railroad Streets in Slatington.
Following the business meeting, guest speaker, Dan Kunkle, Executive Director of the Lehigh Gap Nature Center spoke to the NLHS members about how much has been accomplished in the Northern Lehigh area in the last 10 years. He said, "We're improving the quality of life for the area and creating opportunities for visitors."
Kunkle said, thanks to the re-vegetation project, the previously barren landscape is once again seeing green. He also gave a slide presentation showing signage that is placed around the center and trails that display pictures and provide a short history of specific sites in the Lehigh Gap.
Northern Lehigh Historical members were given a tour of the newly completed environmentally sound education center. The building has a septic system that is as good as the sewage system in Slatington. It cost $90,000. "Water," Kunkle said, "that is spilled into the river from the system is so clean it's drinkable." Also, he added, "the driveway is not paved, so there's no runoff into the river. The water sinks into the ground." The insulation is ground up newspaper and the carpeting throughout the building is made of all recycled fabric.
Kunkle stressed that the Nature Center is not about the inside of the building, it's about what happens outside, in the community. Kunkle explained that the building is merely an opportunity to offer education. Sixty-five fourth graders from Palmerton, for example, are going to use the center to do an eco-system activity.