On Saturday morning, December 11, a handsome informational kiosk was installed on the Heritage Trail near the Chester Historical Society’s 1915 Erie Station Museum.
Jack Kerwan, a senior at Washingtonville High School and a member of Boy Scout Troop 416, built the kiosk as his Eagle Scout Project. The kiosk is a sturdy three-sided structure with three educational panels which present information about Groundwater: The Hidden Resource, the Hydrologic Cycle and Finding Groundwater Hiding in Bedrock.
The dedication was made by the Moodna Creek Watershed Intermunicipal Council (MCWIC). Jay Beaumont, MCWIC Kiosk Project Coordinator and former executive director of the Orange County Water Authority, was the inspiration for the project, which will include several installations in Orange County about the Moodna Creek Watershed.
The first two educational kiosks are in the Town of Woodbury and the Village of South Blooming Grove. Kerwan’s project is the third. Future kiosks are planned for the Village of Cornwall-on-Hudson and the Towns of Hamptonburgh, Goshen and Monroe. The information panels will be rotated among the kiosks.
Beaumont got the Boy Scouts interested in the project. Artwork and information for the panels came from the MCWIC, the U.S Geological Survey and other organizations. Graphic artist Rebecca Pry of Warwick provided artwork for the panel “Finding water in bedrock.”
Kerwan saw one of the completed kiosks and decided to take on another one for his Eagle Scout Project and built it with the help of parents, relatives and fellow scouts.
“My troop did one and Mr. Beaumont loved what we did and approached our troop with another one,” Kerwan said. “The greatest challenge was the design process. We originally looked at a three-post kiosk design but the project was a bit more technical.”
They settled on the present design and Kerwan drew some sketches for it. He is considering pursuing engineering or architecture in college. He applied to several and so far has been accepted by two: SUNY Buffalo and SUNY Oswego. Luckily he loves snow; an athlete, he skis and also runs indoor track.
“The most satisfying aspect of the project was working with my friends and my peers (from Troop 416) and having them help me in the construction of the project,” the scout added. “Everyone was very helpful every step of the way.”
What an Eagle Scout project takes
Beaumont, the kiosk program coordinator, said the Scouts and their leaders did a fantastic job.
“Very few people realize the amount of effort required to complete an Eagle Scout Project,” Beaumont said. “The effort includes getting approval for the project from the Boy Scout Council, raising money, securing donations of materials and plantings, the actual construction and lots of coordination.
“We really had a team effort for this project,” Beaumont added. “We would like to thank the Village of Chester for their help; the Village of Chester Historical Society for graciously sharing the Train Station Site, which they curate; and the Orange County Parks Department for assistance since the kiosk site is next to the Heritage Trail.”
“Finally the Council would like to give a special Thank You to Matt Brady, the Forest Manager of Black Rock Forest. Matt make the posts for the kiosk at the saw mill at Black Rock. The posts are Locust, which is very durable wood.”
Decorative shrubbery was provided by J. Krokus Nursery Inc.
Kerwan’s Project mentor was Timothy Pillsworth.
“The project was managed and run by Jack,” Pillsworth said. “He took it and make it his own. There were struggles during this time with COVID-everything was delayed. He really did a great job moving forward during the year and a half-two years of COVID.”