Idle-free zone wins award in Boy Scout competition
Life Scout Noah Caldwell of Boy Scout Troop 81 won the Dr. William T. Hornaday Scouting Conservation Award for his Idle-Free Zone project at Warm Springs Intermediate School.
His project was designed to raise awareness of the dangers of toxic exhaust fumes from idling vehicles and buses at school dismissal time.
Caldwell, a Berkeley Springs High School freshman and member of Troop 81, is the first regional winner of the Boy Scout Hornaday award for conservation since 1957, said his mother, Patty Caldwell, who is the troop’s church liaison and advancement committee leader.
National Boy Scout officials still have to review the paperwork, but he should receive his Hornaday medal soon, she said.
Caldwell erected several “Idle Free Zone” signs at the intermediate school entrance and pick-up zones to remind motorists not to run their motors while waiting.
He and other troop members handed out flyers to waiting motorists at the school that explained the health risks of idling vehicles. They also surveyed motorists to find out why they were picking up their children and spoke with bus drivers to encourage them not to idle buses at dismissal.
Give & Goetze award
Caldwell and the seven scouts from his troop that assisted him with his project also won the Give & Goetze Challenge through Boys Life magazine. The contest is run by Goetze’s Candy Company.
They received 100 boxes
of candy that they will share with the Board of Child
Care in Martinsburg. They delivered the candy, along with candy-grams and gift baskets of Scout-donated items for the teenaged agency serves.
The idea of the contest is to do a good turn in your community, said Mrs. Caldwell. Scout troops and organizations are evaluated for their project’s impact on their community.
Caldwell was excited
to receive both awards. He thought the candy contest helped scouts to assist
organizations that helped
their community. He also thought it was wonderful that the Boy Scouts had awards for conservation and other subjects.
He hopes to expand his Idle-Free Zone project to other schools, with school board permission.
Caldwell presented the findings from his Hornaday project at the December 6 School Board meeting.
Carbon monoxide levels
He said Hancock Volunteer Fire Company official Derek McBee and Darren Younker of Morgan County Schools Transportation Department measured the levels of carbon monoxide detectable outside of a school bus at 12 inches from the exhaust.
They also measured the carbon monoxide levels detectable inside a school bus during idling. Three different school bus models and years were tested.
The carbon monoxide levels near the exhaust were okay, Caldwell said. They could be dangerous after two or three hours if someone’s face was right by the exhaust pipe.
Their measurements showed no carbon monoxide was present inside three different year models of school buses while they idled. That meant kids on buses would be safe if buses idled in a snowstorm for 30 minutes or more, he said.
Caldwell relayed the results of the motorist survey about why they picked up their child at school. Some 33 parents responded.
Nearly half said it allowed their child to get home faster. Almost 15% said buses were too crowded or that it was because of their child’s schedule changes. Nearly 10% said it was due to their work schedule or because they felt elementary school children shouldn’t ride the bus with high school students.