Central PA Conservancy’s July 2016 Goddard Student Leadership Legacy Institute was a great success this year giving students a range of perspectives and experiences through leadership training and team-building, volunteer service projects, and hands-on learning about the environment and our region's role within the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
This year’s Institute was a collaboration between program partners-- Department of Conservation and Natural Resources/Pine Grove Furnace State Park, Chesapeake Bay Foundation-PA, Cumberland County Conservation District, and Yellow Breeches Educational Center.
Some of the highlights of this action-filled week included a trip to the Diakon Wilderness Center for high and low ropes courses, the Letort Spring Run invasive species removal and native planting, a kayak tour of Laurel Lake, a tour of the Garman dairy farm, and, for the first time ever, a trip to the Philip Merrill Environmental Center on the Chesapeake Bay in Annapolis, MD.
Lane Whigham, CBF's Student Leadership Project Coordinator, remarks that CBF is looking forward to continuing to work with the GLLI to identify and educate future leaders to advocate for the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
Olivia Termini, a student at Dickinson College who worked with the program as a counselor and serves as CPC's intern through the school year, comments, "the most valuable part of my participation was to see the kids' realization that what they were doing upstream on the Letort headwaters could affect the Bay downstream. At the Bay, they were able to piece together the idea of ecological interconnections. This is a very important concept to understand so early in their lives and will help them become lifelong stewards of the environment."
At the Bay, students participated in a work program at the Oyster Restoration Center, shoveling several tons of shells into large flats, shaking oysters clean of debris, and then touring the Center to understand how the cleaned shells would be used to grow native oysters through aquaculture and restored to the Bay by re-establishing oyster reefs.
Students learned that oysters are vital to improving water quality as they naturally filter algae, sediment, and other pollutants, and their current population is only 1 percent of historic levels.
Students not only learn about the environment, but learn the value and importance of building friendships between students from different schools and backgrounds and giving back to their community.
Michael Brant, a sophomore from Carlisle Christian Academy says, "I would highly recommend this camp to teenagers who want to learn about the environment; it gives you a picture of how drastically our actions can harm our ecosystem. Aside from learning about environmental science, at this camp you get to meet many different people and have the chance to become friends with people you otherwise may have never met."
Because of the leadership, team-building, and stewardship values imparted to students throughout the week, a strong bond developed among students and staff that we hope will stay with them as they pursue similar opportunities and challenges in their lives.
Several parents mentioned that this program is a unique summer enrichment opportunity for 8th and 9th graders.
The Goddard Leadership Legacy Institute is generously supported by grants from the Chris Thorpe Foundation, the Katie Svitek Memorial Foundation, and the Friends of Pine Grove Furnace State Park.
The Conservancy’s aim is to continue the program each year with the help of these partners. The in-kind support provided by the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation-PA added significant value and made for a very successful program.
The Central PA Conservancy would like to thank these sponsors for their support and is looking forward to continuing to offer this unique summer program.
For more information on programs, initiatives and upcoming events, visit the Central PA Conservancy website. Click Here to sign up for regular updates from the Conservancy.(Reprinted from the Central PA Conservancy’s October E-News.)