Pugwash Cleans Up

This trash once littered part of Marywood’s campus near the IHM Center. Photo Credit: Chuck Fisher.

By Chuck Fisher
Staff Writer

What do billion-dollar satellites, old tires, and people from all over northeastern Pennsylvania have in common? Normally, not much. You’d be pretty hard pressed to Google the above words and find anything meaningful.

But on March 30, satellites, tires, and NEPA residents all had something very much in common: the environment at Marywood.

The Pugwash Environmental Club organized a cleanup in the woods between the IHM Center and Interstate 81 in the back part of Marywood. Over the years, people have dumped tires, refrigerators, weed whackers, grills, and more over the ravine near the IHM center. Since Mother Earth is busy fighting global warming, the Pugwash Club took it upon itself to clean up the site with a novel approach.

Members have been active with a new sport called geocaching. With geocaching, a person uses a Global Positioning System Receiver (GPS), which can pinpoint one’s location anywhere on the planet to within a few feet by way of satellites in orbit. A person geocaching takes his/her GPS and downloads coordinates from the internet from websites such as geocaching.com and navicache.com. These coordinates lead the geocacher to items hidden outdoors by other geocachers. These objects, called geocaches, usually contain a logbook which is signed by the finder as proof that he or she visited the location. The sport has become very popular in the last few years all around the world with new caches springing up everyday, including several hidden on Marywood’s campus.

Geocaching.com offers a service called “Cache In Trash Out,” simply abbreviated as a CITO Event. In a CITO Event, area geocachers converge on an area in need of a cleanup at a predetermined time and take a few hours to remove junk and trash and make the area look nicer and become more ecologically friendly. Pugwash, in collaboration with geocaching.com, sponsored a CITO Event on campus with much success. Geocachers from places such as Pittston, Carbondale, Hazelton, and even Towanda came down to help beautify Marywood’s campus.

Pugwash members, Marywood students, and local geocachers met at 10 a.m. on and spent two hours removing garbage that accumulated over the years. The IHM Sisters who saw the cleanup complimented the workers and expressed gratitude for their dedication to a clean environment.

After the cleanup, the Marywood students and geocachers all met near the Fricchionne Day Care Center and had a cookout. All of the food was brought by the cachers and the grill and hamburgers were donated by Pugwash. It was a great time for friendship and camaraderie and several Marywood students even became interested in geocaching after meeting the area cachers.