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Scouts dedicate Pa. EcoPark

April 30, 2000|By DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Members of Boy Scout Troop 138 planted a Blue Spruce in memory of one of their own Saturday during the dedication ceremony for the Franklin County EcoPark.

Among the 100 or so people attending the ceremony were Michael and Dagmar Unger, the parents of Devoy Unger, a 14-year-old Star scout who died in an ATV accident last fall. Michael Unger said death is something "we all have to learn about life."

"Unfortunately, some learn younger than others," he said.

"Devoy was the kind of person who, if anything like that happened, he would be here just like we are," Senior Patrol Leader Andrew Dice said after placing a memorial plaque at the foot of the tree. Members of the troop each placed a spadeful of earth around the base of the spruce.

Patrol Leader Logan Elliott read a poem, "Wings of an Angel," one line of which says, "and now to God another scout is sent."

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"This park will be used as a memorial to any fallen scouts or scout leaders," said Boy Scout Troop 133 Scoutmaster Kirby Hockensmith. Members of his troop had provided much of the labor to turn what had once been the site of a sewage treatment plant into an environmental park for the county.

The park covers 6 1/2 acres along the Falling Spring on land owned by the county off Franklin Farm Lane in Guilford Township. Eagle Scout Matthew Hockensmith provided much of the leadership and labor that went into the park's mile and a half of trails, observation areas, bat boxes and nesting boxes for bluebirds, wood ducks, mallards and Canada geese.

"I've probably put in a little over 50 hours" on the project, Hockensmith said Saturday. He was aided by 10 other scouts and four scout leaders from the troop whose total hours working on the park exceeded 200.

Hockensmith said the troop had planted about 700 trees, provided by the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. Work on the trails included marking them out, clearing brush and laying down tons of mulch.

"We were out here Monday and had three wheelbarrows going," Hockensmith said. The scouts also had the help of a Bobcat loader, he said.

Bits of tinsel and plastic were mixed amongst the mulch, which came from recycled Christmas trees county residents dumped off behind the Penn State Cooperative Extension Office across the parking lot from the park, according to County Commissioner G. Warren Elliott.

County Commissioner Cheryl Plummer went out on a limb, literally, to get a look at a geese swimming along the stream. The park provides a habitat for wildlife, including a goose and her goslings who retreated toward the stream when visitors got too close to her nest.

Elliott said the project has two more phases. First, a concrete swale from the parking lots of the county buildings will be removed to stop the runoff into the streams.

The next phase will create an artificial wetland on the north side of the stream to filter out pollution from the parking lots, a wetland observation deck and a trail on the south side of the Falling Spring, Elliott said.

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