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Duck activity in Murrysville wetlands will be captured on live stream

| Wednesday, April 24, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

Ducks in Murrysville will get prime camera time this summer when officials begin a live video stream from park wetlands for students and other nature enthusiasts.

The municipality was awarded a $3,000 state grant for environmental education that it plans to use for construction of an observational blind near the Steele's Run watershed at the community park.

That's where a webcam will be mounted to stream live video, as well as provide a spot for people to view the ducks without interference.

“We're going to set up a duck blind that kids can sit behind,” said Jim Morrison, chief administrator. “I'm pleased that the state (Department of Environmental Protection) saw it was a good project.”

The blind will be placed in an area with a walking trail and pavilion with a small classroom, Morrison said.

In addition, the grant will be used to purchase water-testing supplies and create a small access area at the water's edge so students who participate in the municipality's nature summer camp can draw water samples for testing.

Last summer, the nature camp, for children ages 6 to 12, was the most successful program offered, Morrison said.

In an effort to reach beyond Murrysville, Morrison said a webcam will stream video of the wetlands area to be broadcast live on the municipal website.

“In addition to the general public, students, teachers, youth and community groups will all benefit from the live-streaming wildlife video to promote the conservation of wildlife and its habitats through science and education,” he said.

Construction should begin this summer.

Other Westmoreland County groups that received DEP grants are the Eastern Westmoreland Career and Technology Center in Derry Township, $5,260; the Private Industry Council of Westmoreland/Fayette Inc., $3,184; St. Vincent College in Unity, $2,935, and the Westmoreland County Conservation District, $912.

Amanda Dolasinski is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-836-6220 or adolasinski@tribweb.com.

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