Learning about their surroundings

First Posted: 9/29/2014

Abington Heights High School junior Brendan Conahan volunteered his time at the Lackawanna State Park Scout Day in North Abington Township on Sept. 28 because he has an interest in the environment and ecology.

Conahan led the National Public Lands Day (NPLD) invasive plant removal activity for area Cub Scouts who participated in the park’s Scout Day as part of high school’s senior project. He and members of Cub packs from around the area removed from the park’s landscape several species of invasive plants known as Japanese and Giant Knotweed.

“I thought it would be a good idea to get involved up here doing some volunteer projects,” Conahan said of his role in the annual Scouting event.

Lackawanna State Park environmental education specialist Angela Lambert said the overall theme for Scout Day was outdoor skills and additional stations offered to Cub Scouts, ages 8 to 10 years old, included “Leave No Trace,” which fosters outdoor ethics and principles; Geocaching, a high tech scavenger hunt using GPS units to find hidden treasures known as Geocaches; Outdoor Skills designed to show scouts how to build a quick shelter out of natural materials and fire building skills; and the NPLD Service Project.

Approximately 65 Cub Scouts, parents, leaders and siblings were in attendance.

Scout Day has been offered at the park for approximately 15 years and is set up as a day to provide Cub Scout packs with skills toward environmental badge requirements.

“We help to provide them with some skills toward the accomplishments,” Lambert said. “One of the advantages to having these programs for children is to show the kids there is more to life than the computer and to give them a safe outdoor experience. Hopefully, as they grow older, they will value (these experiences) and continue to utilize these outdoor resources that are so abundant in Pennsylvania and in our state parks.”

Cub Scouts from Packs 66, 160, 3090, 92 and 133 were present at Scout Day.

Kristy Egner, of Covington Township, said she and her family enjoyed the program because “it encourages the boys to get outside and be surrounded by other boys that enjoy the same things and it gets them away from the video games and TV.”

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