Kiosks coming to Conewango

By JACOB PERRYMAN

jperryman@timesobserver.com

Things are flowing quickly on the Conewango.

Leadership Warren County’s 2011-12 class is making headway in its bid to install educational kiosks in the Conewango Creek watershed.

“The idea is to establish three different educational kiosks along Conewango Creek,” said Kirk Johnson, a member of the 2011-12 class. “The idea behind the project is to raise awareness of what a watershed is and the size and scope of the Conewango in particular.”

“It also makes them aware of how their usage of the land affects the watershed,” classmate Jason Anderson said.

According to Johnson and Anderson and 2011-12 classmates Penny Wolboldt and Ruby MacWithey, three-panel kiosks will be installed at Point Park in Warren, Larimer Park in Russell and at the bike/hike trailhead in North Warren.

Fellow classmate Joe Beardsley was unavailable to sit for an interview on the progress of work.

After a long journey, work on the projects is moving ahead with concrete pads down at Larimer and Point parks and an existing kiosk ready for modification in North Warren.

“We’ve worked through the planning, design and, now, we’re ready to start with construction,” Anderson said. “It’s likely installation will start very soon.”

“At this point, we’re really only held up by some very specialized parts,” Johnson said. “The scouts are raring to go.”

The scouts, in this case, are Eli Punsky and Tristan Tyler, members of Boy Scout Troops 8 and 13, respectively, collaborating on the project for their Eagle projects.

“The scouts, I think, have a deadline for their project,” Wolboldt noted.

The project itself consists of three kiosks with three panels at each site. One panel focuses on an explanation of what a watershed is and lists backers of the project. The second will provide a map of the watershed, which extends across approximately 900 square miles in three counties in Pennyslvania and New York. The third panel is recreation oriented and focuses on points of interest within the watershed from the New York-Pennsylvania state line to the Conewango Creek’s junction with the Allegheny River.

“The Conewango Creek watershed is kind of unique,” Johnson said. “We all kind of think of ourselves as Pennsylvanians or New Yorkers, but if you live in the watershed, we’re all kind of connected.”

While Johnson, Anderson, Wolboldt, MacWhithey and Beardsley spearheaded the project, it was a group effort bringing it to fruition.

“The beautiful thing about this project is everyone is so willing to help,” Wolboldt said. “It’s just so uplifting that we didn’t have to beg anyone to help. If we asked, they were just jumping to help.”

“It’s definitely been a collaborative effort,” Anderson added. “We’ve had a lot of donations and contributions. Almost this entire project is (being done) at cost.”

The voyage from concept to completion was more than they expected, according to organizers, but well worth the effort.

“I don’t think any of us anticipated the time and the size,” MacWithey said.

“It was really surprising to see everything that goes into just putting up a kiosk,” Anderson added. “It’s amazing the things you learn about the community.”

“I think we pretty much accomplished the goals that Leadership Warren (County) set out to,” Wolboldt noted.

“It’s all been worth it,” Johnson said. “I know (Leadership Program Director) Gary Lester is looking for students. I would recommend anyone to participate.”

So when will the kiosks be up?

“We’re almost done,” Johnsons said. “It’s really close to coming to fruition. If it weren’t for these really specialized parts I think we’d be done.”

According to Wolboldt, “The timeline’s before the snow flies.”