When Troop 301 from St. James, N.Y., spent a weekend last month camping at Otis Pike Fire Island High Dune Wilderness, they didn’t just go for fun.
They also performed an important service project with the National Park Service.
The troop’s mission was to identify and eradicate the Japanese Black Pine, an invasive tree species that has grown so aggressively in the area that it’s competing with the native American Pitch Pine for space along the ocean dunes.
The Scouts cut down invasive trees, removed all of the pinecones from the branches and hauled the trees to the beach. There, the branches were disposed of and the pine combs incinerated to prevent the species from spreading.
The Scouts also found time for some fun. They backpacked more than 2 miles along the Atlantic Ocean and camped on the sandy beach.