William Getz has worked closely to encourage young men in the Boy Scouts of America for the past 19 years. He became involved when his sons became a part of the organization; however, even after he lost one of his sons William stayed committed. William had to deal with a very hard loss, but he considered all of the young men he worked with his surrogate sons.
William has been an integral part of the Boy Scouts and his troops have been involved in seven ongoing projects. The Kinzua Bridge Historic Trail program requires all of its participants to provide four hours of public service and environmental education at the Kinzua Bridge State Park. Last year, his troop was a part of 50 groups from all over the United States who contributed 3,200 hours of service to the park, and they ran more than 3,200 hours of environmental education classes. Troop 495 also worked on Chestnuts Unlimited. They built chestnut nurseries and set up demonstration projects at the Kinzua Bridge State Park.
In addition, they participated in the Living Legacy Program where flowering crab trees were planted to proved cover and food for birds and wildlife and the Fish Attractor Project. Hundreds of discarded Christmas trees were recycled and utilized as fish attractors in the Allegheny Reservoir in cooperation the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, USDA Forest Service, and the Federal Corrections Institution. Pre-drilled trees were strung on donated wire and anchored with concrete blocks along the Allegheny Reservoir shoreline in the winter. When the reservoir rises, the trees provide a habitat for fish.
Troop 495 also completed piping and hookup to a local conservation center from a local municipal supply so approved potable water would be available to participants. This was a portion of their Conservation Education Center. The troop also assisted the Pepsi Family Fun Days Chairmen at the county fir with regards to recycling. They allowed aluminum cans to be redeemed for raffle tickets for donated prizes. The aluminum that was collected was sold, and the proceeds were used to sponsor other conservation programs.
Conservation education of youth has been a major thrust in Bill’s volunteer activities. In addition, the conservation service has provided American Chestnut nurseries and groves on public land. They have also development and enhanced fishery on the Allegheny Reservoir, along with urban forestry projects on Main Street in Bradford and on the Bradford Watershed property. Youth and adults from 40 different surrounding communities have participated in the programs William has initiated.
William’s efforts and programs have had an extremely high value to the region and nation. Because of his work, he was awarded three Gold Medallions in the Hornaday Conservation Awards Program for Distinguished Work in Conservation. This is the Boy Scout’s most prestigious conservation award, and only 15 awards have been granted since the inception of the program in 1915. William’s Troop also won the Three Rivers Environmental Award in Pittsburgh, and one of his adult leaders won the President’s Service Award, which is the most prestigious national award for public service.