Samuel P. Senior Memorial Park was once home to an outdoor classroom designed to educate local children about the role wetlands play in improving water quality and providing wildlife habitat. Thanks to the efforts of Milo Goldstein and fellow Boy Scouts from Troop 66, the park is ready to do so once again.
Built in 1963, the outdoor classroom had sustained extensive damage from storms, wind and rain since its original construction. With its raised planks over the wetlands and prime location on Center Road, across from Town Hall, the park is a little-known town treasure.
“Over the years, and in particular due to Hurricane Sandy in 2012, the classroom was badly damaged and became unusable,” said Charles Lynch, president of the Samuel P. Senior Memorial Park Board.
The damaged classroom turned out to be the perfect opportunity for Milo Goldstein, 15, a junior at Joel Barlow High School. Milo has been a member of Boy Scout Troop 66 for three years and is working to earn his Eagle Scout badge.
One of the requirements is to “plan, develop, and give leadership to others in a service project helpful to any religious institution, any school, or your community,” according to the Boy Scouts of America. Repairing the classroom fit the bill perfectly for Milo.
“I looked for a project that would benefit Easton, not necessarily one I chose myself,” he said. “In searching and asking around for what the town needed, I found Mr. Lynch’s request for the outdoor classroom restoration, and took it on.”
Goldstein started planning the project last November and began the physical labor of repairing the classroom with a group of Boy Scouts that he oversaw. The scouts built six 10-foot long wooden benches and a lectern with pressurized lumber supplied by the park board.
“I am definitely most proud of the bench stability and design,” Milo said. “They are visually similar to the old benches, but these won’t fall apart in a few years and are very sturdy. The design was a culmination of my own efforts as well as some research I did both online and asking around.”
The project took around three weekends and was completed on Oct. 10. The restored classroom can accommodate roughly 25 students.
The next step is for the park board to find local experts who can volunteer to speak at the classroom about the wetlands, plants, and trees in the area and provide a thorough educational experience to students who visit the park. Lynch and the board will reach out to educators at Helen Keller Middle School and Samuel Staples Elementary about classes for Easton’s elementary and middle school students.
“We thank Milo for this excellent work in designing this project, obtaining the materials, and rebuilding this outdoor classroom,” Lynch said. “We wish him success in receiving his Eagle Scout badge.”
Maps for self-guided tours of the park are available at the Easton Library or can be accessed here.