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School of Natural Resources Works for the community

By Staff | Aug 17, 2010

Instructor of Diesel Technology and Heavy Equipment, Budd Greevy inspects a student's work as he finalizes a grading project for a new access road to their training site in Brady Township.

ALLENWOOD – Even though many of the students were at a hiatus for the summer, The Earth Science Center in Allenwood is a busy place all year long. The center which is owned and operated by the Pennsylvania of Technology is designed to train students who want to learn how to beautify the land. They can learn from curriculum majors in Forest Technology to Horticulture to working with heavy equipment and diesel engines to move the earth.

“We offer majors in horticulture, forestry, heavy construction equipment, diesel, and power generation technologies,” said Dr. Mary Sullivan, dean of School of Natural Resources Management. With more than 100,000 square feet of indoor institutional laboratories and classrooms and over 350 acres of outdoor “learning labs,” the School of Natural Resources Management offers students ample space for learning while keeping class sizes small for individualized instruction. Sullivan, who lives in Mifflinburg, has been with Penn College for 22 years and served as dean for the last four years.

Currently students in Heavy Equipment Technology are constructing a road in Brady Township from one of their training sites. The road will connect with Cemetery Hill Road stated instructor of Diesel Equipment Technology, Lester Greevy III. “This gives them hands on experience to operate heavy equipment and do grading, This 125 acre training site is like a big sandbox,” he added. The live project will be a right of way allowing for another access road to their training site. The students are doing most of the work for the road – adding drainage, measuring and surveying it. They had to cut trees and stumps, remove dirt to a sub-grade and haul shale material in lifts. The process involves building and compacting the road and then topping it with smaller, finer stone for the end result. Planning and process for the project began in mid-May.

Eleven students have been working on it since July 6 and completed the road the first week in August. Training sites at this level are not available elsewhere in the Mid-Atlantic. “There is a school in Florida, and one or two out west in Oklahoma,” Greevy said. “But they are not as specialized as we are,”

Students are learning to push shale, load trucks, haul and operate all heavy equipment. Last year they worked on a walking course project with Hope Enterprises. Penn College donated the crew and equipment time so students could gain a learning experience.

The Heavy Equipment Technology program also takes part in the SMART Girls program in October which provides young females, in grades 7 – 11, the opportunity to experience math and science as a foundation for careers in technology. They receive hands-on experiences that range from crushing concrete (working with compression strength) to the opportunity to ride in a crane or forklift. An average of one female per semester usually enrolls in Diesel Technology said Greevy.

“A lot of what we do here is self paced,” Greevy added. Students dig trenches and basements, learn excavating and bench-loading and how to grade slopes. The first two semesters are spent in the classroom learning theory. “Different objectives need to be met for each machine and grades are based on that. Each have their projects to complete,” Greevy said.

Most of the equipment is owned by the College. “Each semester, however, 4 to 6 pieces such as bulldozers or excavators are leased. This allows the students an opportunity to work with the latest technology and equipment,” explained Sullivan.

Students are expected to be back on campus on August 16 to begin the next session.