The group had to rebuild wooden stairs on the hottest day of the summer.
“Give a try again. You can do it,” Jordany Krawinkel said while encouraging a co-worker who was prying a rotting railroad tie out of a staircase at Tuscarora State Park.
Krawinkel takes part in the Pennsylvania Outdoor Corps of high school and college students who repair parks and learn about nature for their summer jobs.
To yank out the old steps on a path leading to a changing room for swimmers, the corps members had picks, shovels and shade against the temperature of nearly 100 degrees on Monday.
The prospect of sharing work with a close-knit group led Krawinkel to sign on for the job.
“It’s like we’ve been together a week and we’re like brother and sister,” said Krawinkel, a Hazleton resident and student at Luzerne County Community College, where he studies computer science.
The Outdoor Corps receives funding from donors who give to its parent group, the Student Conservation Association, but national and state parks also contribute. This summer, the corps formed teams in 16 locations including Hazleton and Wilkes-Barre.
Tarah Brugger welcomed the corps for the first time to Tuscarora and Locust Lake state parks, which she manages.
“The kids have been great. They dive in. We get a few extra projects in, and everybody benefits,” Brugger said.
“It opens a new world for them,” Rebecca Lindner, the team’s other supervisor, said.