BVA to host 5th Annual Polar Plunge

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The Brandywine Valley Association’s icy winter tradition continues on Feb. 11

By P.J. D’Annunzio, Staff Writer, UnionvilleTimes.com

Despite frigid temperatures, hundreds of local residents braved the icy waters of the Brandywine in 2011 to help raise funds and awareness for the Brandywine Valley Association.

POCOPSON — Attention Polar Bears, this one’s for you.

Once again, hundreds of folks will dip into the frosty Brandywine Creek to help raise money and awareness about the natural water resources of the Brandywine Valley on Feb. 11.

The Brandywine Polar Plunge event is hosted by the BVA to support their efforts to protect and conserve the natural resources of the Brandywine Valley. Since 2008, over 750 people have taken the plunge to raise nearly $56,000 to protect and conserve the region’s natural resources.

“Through our education efforts, BVA teaches residents about the importance of watershed conservation,” BVA Development Director Cynthia Jaros said. “Actions such as how we wash our cars or the method of transportation we choose have implications on our drinking water, overall water quality and all living organisms that rely on the Brandywine to live.”

So why take the plunge?

“This fundraiser directly offsets the cost of vital watershed education and conservation programs including Red Streams Blue, BVA’s stream restoration program,” Jaros said. “Examples of projects include the restored site above Strode’s Mill along Route 52 and current work with sect farmers in the Honeybrook area to reduce impact from livestock on streams as well as decrease soil erosion.

Along with supporting the conservation efforts of the BVA, many others see the plunge as a point of pride. Some compete to see who can raise the most money or win the prize for the most outlandish costume while others simply do it for the rush.

“It is a SERIOUS adrenaline rush and a lot of fun!” veteran plunger Giselle Cosentino said. “Sure your feet will go a little numb but it’s only temporary, and it’s worth it. I also do it for the badge of honor: to be able to say I plunged.”

Participants are encouraged to collect donations from friends, family and co-workers, in exchange for jumping into the icy water in the middle of winter. Team participation is welcome and various sponsorship levels make it possible for any business to participate in the Polar Plunge.

Plus, this year’s Polar Plunge offers a new way to warm up after taking the frigid dive:

“2012 Brandywine Plunge sponsor, Más Mexicali Cantina of West Chester’s Polar Bear Club will be hosting our post-plunge thaw party,” Jaros said.

Whether you’re a veteran penguin or a rookie minnow, the Polar Plunge is a unique way to support a worthwhile cause—and when you’re done shivering—you’re sure to have a smile on your face.

For more information on the Plunge, visit: http://www.brandywinewatershed.org/2008/Plunge_2012/index2.asp

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