Stroudsburg PA Feature

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Members of the Stroudsburg (PA) Junior High School TSA chapter received recognition for their project to build and replace a footbridge providing access to a cranberry bog in a local conservation district.

Members of the Stroudsburg Junior High School TSA (PA) were honored in June, 2008 for a special project that improves public access to the cranberry bog at the Monroe County Conservation District.

The students successfully replaced a footbridge in the cranberry bog near Bartonsville, PA. — after figuring out how to get supplies to the site, about one mile from the nearest road."We didn't know how they were going to get it there and they said, 'We'll float it up the creek,'" Roger Spotts of the Monroe County Conservation District recalled at the county commissioners' meeting, where the students received a proclamation commemorating the bridge work and their showing in a statewide student technology competition.
The conservation district was mulling its options for replacing the aging footbridge when the TSA chapter called to see if the district needed help with anything."We were lucky because this group called us looking for a project," Spotts said. "The conservation district didn't have the manpower to fix it."
The students replaced the bridge during the chilly days of March and April. The old bridge was taken down and a new 10-foot-by-20-foot bridge was built in its place. This included transporting 20 flotation barrels, bridge supports and other material to the job site via the waterway. "It was something we couldn't have duplicated," Spotts said.
"What you students have accomplished is wonderful," added Monroe County Commissioner Suzanne McCool.Spotts said the project took about three weeks to complete."These guys put tremendous hours into it," said Jeff Lathom, the TSA chapter adviser. "Through a lot of work we got it done."
Lathom said the conservation district suggested a couple of possible projects, but his students chose to replace the footbridge.
"We basically built it over a weekend, but it took weeks and weeks and tons of planning," Lathom said. "They came up completely with the idea themselves and I went out there to see that they were able to do it. We had an engineer sign off on it."
They had to solve several problems just to remove the old bridge, before the new one was built.
"We first had to remove it," Lathom said. "We were worried about damaging the bog, first of all."
The bridge was replaced in time for the first of several elementary school groups to use it while on spring outings to the bog.
The Stroudsburg TSA chapter took first place in the Middle School Construction Challenge event at the 2008 Pennsylvania TSA conference among 1,500 students. They also competed in the national competition and won second place in the same event. Other achievements included awards in competitive categories such as construction, manufacturing, public speaking and parliamentary procedure.
The Stroudsburg Junior High technology students include Mehmed Ouzounov, Damian Miller, Ben Pierce, Karim Osman, Will Termini, Daniel Perry, Sami Breitlauch, Paul Warnick, Eathen Rundle and Tyler Bickford.
Joe Mikulak also is an advisor to the team.
Reprinted with permission from the Pocono Record, June 20, 2008