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Millersville Alumnus Gives Back to Environment through Community Service and Business

Martha MacAdam

Ben Miller, a 1989 Millersville University graduate, has always cared about the local environment and has poured his environmental passion into all areas of his life from community service to business. One place that has been particularly close to his heart is the Swatara Creek and surrounding watershed. He has dedicated many years as an active volunteer with the Swatara Watershed Association (SWA) and even opened a business that utilizes and benefits the creek.

In 2012, Miller and his wife opened a local kayak business called Cocoa Kayak Rentals of Hershey.

“We really loved kayaking for a number of years, but realized there [were] no outfitters or kayak rentals on the Swatara Creek,” he explains. “Given the number of visitors to Hershey every summer and the outdoorsy locals, we saw an opportunity to provide rentals, shuttles and coordinated kayaking tours on this scenic local waterway.”

Miller has also incorporated his love of kayaking into his volunteerism. He leads the shore support for the Swatara Sojourn, an annual two-day volunteer kayak and canoe event to clean the creek of debris and refuge. He has also organized fundraisers, assisted Eagle Scouts with their projects and helped restore the Bordner Cabin in Swatara State Park.

Prior to opening Cocoa Kayak Rentals of Hershey, Miller, who ran distance events for the Millersville track team, worked in human services with mentally ill and disabled youth and spent a number of years as a stay-at-home dad to his two children, Ellie and Riley. He currently lives in Palmyra with his wife, Debra. 

ben and debra


                             Alumni Spotlight Archive


A-E F-J K-N O-R S-Z

Nathanael Carroll '05

Julie Cheyney '90

Mike Chick '00

Cara Clase '15

Nathan Claycomb '01

Marc Caserio '99

Jennifer (Bates) Cole '01

Maitee Cueva '98

Vince D'Ambrosio '94

Kelly Davis '95

Dr. Kevin Dixon '81

Sarah Dutton '00

AnnMarie Ely '09

Katy Ferrier '09, '11M

Miles Gallagher '10, '12M

Josh Graupera '14

Justin Hartman '11

Lewis Hemmer '66

Pat Holloway PhD '73

Chuck Kaiser '90

Brigette Kamsler '07

Jordan Kuhns '12

Erick Macek '02

Martha MacAdam '83

Paul MacNamara '84

Robert Mancini '93

James Miller '70

Chris Murphy '15

Greg Pizzoli '05

Jeff Ratcliffe '01

Nick Reiner '07

Karen Rice '91

Laura Richardson '95

John Scargall '12

CPT Michael Spurr '06

Janet Standeven '85

Jen Strobel '95

Jake Swick '01

Silvia Vasques-Lavado '96

Ashley Walker '09

Phil Walker '79

Bob Walters '75

Amber Wittel '95

CPT John Yanikov '07

John Yorks '06

William Zagarino '55

Jaime Zucker '00

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