December 17, 2018

RiverQuest Teams up with Old Saybrook Boy Scout Troop for Selden Island Clean-up

With the backdrop of the Goodspeed Opera House, the Old Saybrook Scouts gather for a photo to display the fruist of their labors after their trash pick-up efforts on Selden Island.

With the backdrop of the Goodspeed Opera House, the Old Saybrook Scouts gather for a photo to display the fruist of their labors after their trash pick-up efforts on Selden Island.

HADDAM/OLD SAYBROOK — It was a sunny, warm day with a little breeze.  The Connecticut River was inviting as always in the eyes of Captain Mark and Mindy Yuknat, the owners of the eco-tourism vessel RiverQuest.

On Saturday, May 2, they invited Boy Scout Troop 51 from Old Saybrook to help with what they hope to become an annual event called, “The 1st Annual Selden Island Clean-up.”

For years Captain Mark has been navigating the Connecticut River.  RiverQuest offers guided tours throughout the year, educating the public about the river and its rich history, wildlife (eagles and ospreys), flora and fauna.  On this day RiverQuest was bringing the Scouts, leaders and volunteers out to Selden Island for a clean-up and a campout.

These Boy Scouts are hard at work on Selden Island.

These Boy Scouts are hard at work on Selden Island.

With the help of the CT DEEP staff located at Gillette Castle, they acquired a camping permit and plenty of trash bags.  Phil Yuris, the park maintainer, was excited to help.  He was very grateful for all the work that was done by the group and hopes that more groups will get involved in the future. As he had hoped, it was a very positive experience for all.

Scoutmaster Dan Sullivan had originally presented the “clean-up” idea to the boys and they were very enthusiastic.

“What a great experience this was, not only for the 16 Scouts, but, also for the four accompanying adults as well. “ Sullivan said, “This was a very different trip for us and all the boys walked away with a very positive experience.  I believe every one of them will take away a new appreciation of the motto “Leave No Trace” and leave everything better than they found it.”

He continued, “We were also able to have all the boys work on earning two merit badges over the weekend, Bird Study and Nature, thanks to  John Ogren from the Old Saybrook Land Trust.  These lessons along with the Clean-up effort hopefully will foster a lifelong appreciation of our environment.”

On Sunday, with about enough trash to fill a pickup truck, they headed back to RiverQuest’s berth at Eagle Landing State Park.  Mindy Yuknat stated, “The Connecticut River starts in a beaver pond in New Hampshire near the Canadian border.  It is cleaner than it ever has been, but there is always room for improvement.  It is amazing how much debris and trash is deposited on the river banks. “

Captain Mark said, “It was a fun weekend and we are already talking about another trip this year.  We hope to get more Scout troops and other groups involved and we hope to get better equipment to help us remove and transport larger items like tires.”

For more information about Selden Neck State Park, visit http://www.ct.gov/deep/cwp/view.asp?a=2716&q=435364&deepNav_GID=1650.

For more information about Old Saybrook BSA Troop 51, visit http://www.ostroop51.org

For more information about RiverQuest, visit http://ctriverquest.com/

For more information about Mark Yuknat, visit captainmark@ctriverquest.com or call 860-662-0577.

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