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Student ecologists honored at Lehigh Gap Center

  • ELSA KERSCHNER/TIMES NEWS Kenneth and Cherie Fegley accompanied their daughter Jessica (center) as she was presented with an award at the Lehigh Gap Nature Center.
    ELSA KERSCHNER/TIMES NEWS Kenneth and Cherie Fegley accompanied their daughter Jessica (center) as she was presented with an award at the Lehigh Gap Nature Center.
Published March 16. 2010 05:00PM

Three high school students were honored by the Lehigh Gap Nature Center on March 13 for work in the environmental field.

They were Audrey Bowe from Emmaus High School; Jessica Fegley, a Towamensing Township resident who attends Palmerton Area High School; and Zachary Weidner of Wilson Area High School.

Dan Kunkle, director of the center, said it is the 13th year the awards were presented. He taught at Freedom High School and had parents ask how their student would be able to win a certain award. The nice thing about the awards he presents is that students are not making the effort to earn an award. For students who do the "really neat stuff," it is a pat on the back when they get the call saying they won.

He thanked the teachers who nominated the students and the parents who set good examples. "Good kids don't happen by accident," he said, acknowledging their input.

Kunkle said all students who won the award planned to major one of the environmental sciences in college.

Fegley was nominated by Mr. Dave Kellerman, the Palmerton environmental club adviser and a biology teacher. She had been looking forward to a career in zoology, but an aunt who is "high on gardens" got not only Jessica but her mother Cherie involved. Her father pointed out that she can "get paid for gardening."

She promotes recycling having started with batteries, is active with the environmental club, helps with community events and clean-ups and volunteers with the education program at Beltzville State Park where she teaches children about the value of conservation.

While at Beltzville, Jessica cleaned up the gardens and created a butterfly garden near the visitors center.

At school she developed a plan for the abandoned courtyard garden, raised the money, managed the funds and led the environmental club volunteers in restoring it.

She plans to attend Penn State and major in landscape architecture.

Her parents are Cherie and Kenneth Fegley.

Winners received a certificate; a copy of the Activist, the publication of the Nature Center; a one-year membership along with an invitation to participate in activities; the book "Birding and Wildlife Guide" which is available free upon request and provides information about natural areas in Eastern Pennsylvania; the books "The Poconos" and "A Sand County Almanac;" and a Roger Tory Petersen bird guide.

Kunkle said he read an essay, Thinking Like a Mountain, from the Almanac to his classes when he was teaching.

He thanked East Penn Bank (now Harleysville National Bank) for sponsoring the awards. Kunkle noted that all the award winners began their environmental involvement at an early age and urged parents to give their kids plenty of "nature" experiences.

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