By Lian Mlodzienski
Stony Acres, owned by all ESU students, is an off-campus facility that is open from dawn until dusk during the entire year.
This 119-acre wild refuge and sanctuary is located off of Route 209 in Marshalls Creek, PA and is open to ESU students, faculty, and the general public.
The facility, which was founded in 1962, includes woodlands, meadows, wetlands, and a 1.5-acre pond. Over 150 species of animals have been identified there, making it one of the largest wildlife sanctuaries in Pennsylvania.
Not only is there a diverse wildlife population, but there are also dozens of species of wildflowers and a variety of trees, giving it a diverse fauna.
Every semester, each student pays a $10 fee that covers his or her piece of Stony Acres. This fee helps pay for the upkeep of the facility and for some of the programs that Stony Acres offers.
Community groups, clubs, and other organizations often use Stony Acres for events.
For example, the Biology Club will use Stony Acres for a camping trip this weekend. Lambda Iota and Kappa Delta Rho are hosting a 5K Zombie Run on October 18. The Outings Club hosted paintball earlier this semester.
Quest is a program that Stony Acres holds at the beginning of every fall semester. It allows incoming freshman and transfer students to move in early and spend time making friends.
Eve Salzberg, a junior majoring in Biochemistry and Chemical Biotechnology, works at Stony Acres for the Quest Program.
She said, “The Quest Program at Stony Acres is a great opportunity for incoming freshman and transfer students to meet new people, challenge by choice, and build trust in their new Warrior family.”
“Challenge by choice” is a common phrase used by Stony Acres, as there are many opportunities for students to push themselves beyond their limits.
There is more to Stony Acres than wildlife and group programs.
You can also find a 30-foot climbing tower for rock climbing. This climbing wall was built in the summer of 1995. It has three 8-foot sides and can accommodate 6 climbers.
There are both high ropes and low ropes courses. Some of the activities that many have enjoyed are the zip line, the swing, the catwalk, and the pamper pole.
The swing involves fellow challenge course attendees hoisting one person to swing high in the air. The person swinging releases a rope, allowing him or her to swing back and forth.
The pamper pole allows someone to climb a telephone pole and leap off in an attempt to catch a trapeze bar.
There is legal fishing for anyone interested. Equipment is provided by Stony Acres. You do not need a license to fish as long as it is catch and release fishing.
Cabins are offered for a $10 deposit that is returned at the end of the person’s stay as long as he or she does not damage the cabin. There are 6 cabins on site, each of which can fit 8 people.
In the same area is a fire pit and picnic tables, which allow for outdoor cooking.
There is also a bathhouse with showers available for campers.
If pitching a tent and sleeping in the elements is more inviting, Stony Acres also offers this version of camping. Stony Acres, free of charge, can provide the rainproof tents and sleeping bags.
In addition to camping supplies, there is equipment for backpacking, volleyball, badminton, and other sports.
In the winter, there is equipment for cross-country skiing, ice-skating, ice hockey, and other recreational endeavors.
Not only do special programs and individuals use this facility, but there are some classes that use Stony Acres in their curriculums as well. The Biology Department is an avid user of Stony Acres.
Dr. Terry Master uses the site for bird watching in his Ornithology class (the study of birds).
Dr. Thomas LaDuke and his Herpetology class (the study of reptiles and amphibians) use the facility to monitor the snapping turtle population and search for amphibians.
Dr. Howard Whidden and some of his graduate students use Stony Acres to do research on bats. There are bat boxes located throughout the property that are used to monitor the white nose syndrome, a disease caused by the fungus Pseudogymnoascus destructans that has killed over 6 million bats since 2006.
Stony Acres is not solely for recreational purposes. ESU students have found jobs there.
Some students work at Quest, while others are Challenge Course facilitators. These workers are trained to administrate a variety of activities, such as the high and low ropes courses. They belay for anyone who is using the course at the time.
If anyone would like to arrange a trip to Stony Acres, contact Madeline Constantine, located in room 211 on the top floor of the University Center. She can be also be contacted at email@example.com.
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