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Boy Scouts continue work to keep Springfield Run clean

June 28, 2008|By MARIE GILBERT

WILLIAMSPORT -- When Brent Bailey looks out over Springfield Run, he sees more than water.

He sees biology, history and a chance to protect the environment.

He also sees community service.

"This stream is a part of Williamsport," Bailey said. "It's important to take care of it."

That's why Boy Scout Troop 17 has adopted Springfield Run and has pledged to keep it clean.

"This is a big part of what Scouting is about -- giving back to the community," said Bailey, who is a member of the troop committee. "This is a project we were more than happy to take on."

About 13 troop members, plus two Eagle Scouts and Scout leaders, showed up Saturday morning to participate in the summer cleanup of Springfield Run, which flows through Byron Memorial Park.

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"We've been doing this twice a year for the past two years," Bailey said. "We've formed a good partnership with the town."

"This is a wonderful community project," said Williamsport Town Councilman Jeff Cline, who joined the Scouts in Saturday's cleanup. "Not only does it help beautify the park, but it also saves taxpayers money. Town employees would have to do this job if it weren't for the Scouts."

According to Bailey, Springfield Run often becomes clogged with excess growth from watercress, weeds and debris.

"When there is too much growth, the water can't flow properly and can cause flooding in the park," he said.

Bailey said the troop's meetinghouse is a stone's throw from the stream in Byron Memorial Park, "so we feel an obligation to lend a hand. It's like cleaning up our yard."

Cline said he was impressed by the number of Scouts who gave up their Saturday morning to help clean the stream.

"This troop has a lot of other obligations, but still they're here," he said.

Most of the Scouts, though, didn't look at it as work.

Wading through the water, they created piles of excess watercress and filled buckets with baseballs, courtesy of foul balls hit from a nearby Little League field.

But while they were having fun, they also were learning.

"This is a good educational experience," Bailey said. "They're learning about helping the environment, what causes flooding, and they're identifying different plants. They've even been naming the crayfish."

Among the Scouts helping in the cleanup was Chris Lunsford, 12.

"It's a dirty job, but it's fun," he said. "I like the fact that you get wet."

Chris said he had found baseballs, tennis balls and a few pieces of garbage. He also was tackling the weeds, but knew there would be more to take their place.

"It will all grow back, and I'll be pulling more weeds in the fall," he said.

Also lending a hand were Eagle Scouts Matt Bailey, 20, and Jason David, 18.

"Even though they are both in college, they've come back to help," Brent Bailey said. "Scouts always are taught to give back more than they take."

Cline said Byron Memorial Park is the "heart of Williamsport," so he appreciates the cleanup efforts of the Scouts.

"The troop leaders are instilling a sense of community in these young people," he said. "These are our leaders of tomorrow, and 20 years from now, they'll still be doing this and passing their commitment on to another generation."

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