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Canajoharie, NY ,

Joshua Thomas
10th grade student Alex DiLorenzo departs from Pangea's dock last Wednesday.

Joshua Thomas
CHS students put their recyclable boats into the water.

Joshua Thomas
Canajoharie Middle School students board their recyclable craft, ready to take off.

Joshua Thomas
Canajoharie Middle School students travel to the center of Pangea prior to breaking their boat into pieces.


Students cross Pangea on recyclable boats

Thursday, June 19, 2014 - Updated: 8:03 AM


C-S-E Editor

CANAJOHARIE -- This year's Recyclable Regatta -- the 23rd annual -- was held last Wednesday at Pangea Pond, off Mahr Road, Canajoharie, and although attendance was down a bit from previous years, the rain held off and enthusiastic groups of students ranging in age from seventh through twelfth grade were able to put their recyclable water-crafts to the ultimate test.

15 high school students, from Dwayne Heroth's Applied Physics and Engineering class at CHS, ventured across the lake and back in home-made crafts created as part of the class' buoyancy and volume displacement unit.

The high school students put five boats on the water, but there was great variety amongst the crafts, as some students decided to build kayaks, some made a raft-like structure kept afloat with bottles, and others created displacement barges.

Senior Noah Watson's kayak came in first, which Watson attributed to "the fact that it's a smaller boat and it has a lot of lightweight parts to it," primarily pine. The width, he explained, made it easier to do quicker pull-throughs.

Construction on his boat, which he referred to as "a good team effort" between himself and his peers, took about a month or two, while the assembly lasted about two weeks. The biggest challenge in the creation process, said Watson, was meeting his deadline.

The most rewarding part of the process, though, he said, involved "the accomplishment of coming in first and having the kayak as a take home prize," which he said he plans to use while fishing.

"It's actually a great workout too," he said of paddling Pangea.

Heroth said that most of the items used in the boats was recycled material, aside from the newly purchased, long strips of wood used to create a ribbed frame. The outside of the kayaks were covered with lumber bags, which Curtis Lumber usually throws away, and therefore donated. 

The kayaks and canoes, he said, had about $25 spent in their creation, while the high school bottle boat cost no money at all. It was constructed of old pallets from a student's home that was being remodeled, along with donated bottles.

Canajoharie's seventh and eighth grade students paddled on a boat constructed of flat pieces of wood and recycled materials. Of the structure, Middle School Technology Teacher Dr. Gregory Pitonza said, "This particular boat is a recycled recyclable boat," as it's a variation on a craft that was used two years ago. He noted that the bottles on it will be replaced next year, primarily utilizing kitty litter containers, which are most effective in terms of volume displacement.

The eight-panel boat, Pitonza said, was the culmination of numerous years of work and bottle collection, with at least 100 bottles taken in annually in recent years. The students on each piece of the craft, which disconnected from one another as they reached the center of the lake, also created their own paddles.

In the past, the Recyclable Regatta has included numerous other schools, such as Oppenheim-Ephratah Central School, Fonda-Fultonville Central School, and a school from Maryland. Pitonza said that he hopes more schools will become involved again in the future. At one point, the middle school boat was constructed of 30 individual sections. each containing 80 detergent bottles, clocking in at 132 feet in length.

Joshua Thomas - Canajoharie Senior Noah Watson came in first with his handmade recyclable canoe.

Joshua Thomas - From left, high school students Tommy Christman, Isaiah McClelland and Ian Hagadorn paddle across Pangea in their recyclable boat.

Joshua Thomas - Canajoharie Middle School students, in no order, Christian Herget, Derek Countryman, Adam Oertel, and Connor Shults paddle to shore.


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