A decades-long tradition of Huntington School District sixth graders trekking to the Greenkill Environmental Education Center in Upstate Huguenot will continue in 2020 as hundreds of sixth graders from Woodhull Intermediate School and Jack Abrams STEM Magnet School are expected to participate.
The youngsters will be treated to a series of informative and unique lessons, hike and experience a variety of outdoor activities and thrills. The 1,000 acre site, which is located about ten miles from Port Jervis, is owned and operated by the YMCA of Greater New York. The three-hour bus ride to the camp is typically filled with anticipation and a sense of excitement.
The Huntington School Board authorized the district’s participation in the trip during a public meeting this past Tuesday night. Students and 18 staff members will depart on Tuesday, February 11 at 9:30 p.m. and return on Friday, February 14 at 2:30 p.m. The trip is being coordinated by teachers Keith Meyers and Lauren Caggiano.
Hiking in groups through wooded areas with a trained naturalist and studying pond and forest ecology while learning about orienteering and survival skills and related outdoor themes has always been popular. In the past, an all-day hike has been embraced by Huntington students, who cooked hot dogs and hamburgers over a camp fire.
Jack Abrams STEM Magnet School is named after the man who originally discovered Camp Greenkill for the Huntington School District in 1976. Mr. Abrams was working as principal of Jefferson Elementary School at the time. One of his colleagues, Anthony Baressi, who later served as Jefferson principal, helped organize Huntington’s participation in the camp program. Since then the district has sent more than 10,000 sixth graders to Camp Greenkill.
The camp staff has been remarkably accommodating Huntington UFSD students and the very well-structured program has always run smoothly. The camp grounds have been virtually untouched.
One of the newer buildings on the camp’s grounds carries the name “Evergreen.” It’s certified as a LEED green structure. In addition to serving as a dorm building, it’s used to teach youngsters the importance of environmentally sound construction. It features Plexiglas portals that allow students to see the unique materials used under floors and behind walls. Insulation is made of recycled materials, including wood, countertops and even some of the stone. There are recycling stations throughout the building and water is heated more efficiently than in the standard process.
Mr. Meyers participated in the Camp Greenkill trip when he was a Huntington sixth grader. He returned as a chaperone when he joined the district’s faculty and has been a trip coordinator for more than 20 years.
Once again, the Huntington Foundation will be providing financial assistance for families needing it to send a son or daughter on the trip.