Tayamentasachta springhouse repurposed for environmental education

Staff reports

Students from the building construction trades program at Franklin County Career and Technology Center wrapped up work last week to convert the springhouse at Tayamentasachta into an environmental studies lab.

The project was funded by a $12,368 Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection grant awarded earlier this year to the Greencastle-Antrim School District’s environmental education center.

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“Work performed by FCCTC students includes a total roof replacement, upgrade to the electrical service and custom workbenches,” according to Eric Wagaman, building construction trades instructor, whose students also replaced the pavilion roof at Tayamentasachta in May.

Franklin County Career and Technology Center building construction trades students renovated the springhouse at the Greencastle-Antrim School District’s Tayamentasachta for use as an environmental studies lab.

“We repurposed lumber from the pavilion roof project from last school year and used it to redeck the springhouse roof, which provides a tongue and groove ceiling with an aged appearance,” Wagaman said.

The renovation of the springhouse will open the doors for more on-site educational opportunities in a building equipped with science lab tables, microscopes, field guides and binoculars, Kerri Barnes, director of the environmental center, said when DEP representatives visited the site in April to present the grant. Barnes will provide lesson plans and classroom teachers K-12 will be able to sign up to bring their students to the lab.

Improving and protecting the water, land and air of Pennsylvania is the purpose of DEP grants, according to Rod Nesmith, southcentral region director. Five percent of the fines collected by DEP for pollution and other violations is earmarked for the education grants established under the Environmental Education Act of 1993. Over the years, grants totaling $12.3 million have been awarded statewide.

For many years the springhouse was used regularly as a blacksmith shop, but now the forge is fired up. It will continue to be available for events like eighth-graders’ Cumberland Life Festival.

Wagaman was a Pennsylvania Conservation Corps crew leader in the early 2000s when the springhouse was constructed. Built of limestones they pulled from a barn on the Mountainview Reclamation property at Upton, it replaced a springhouse on the site that was torn down in the 1960s.