The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

The Valley

July 24, 2013

Boy Scout cleans 130-year-old rock and mineral collection

DANVILLE — A rock, mineral and fossil collection that is nearly 130 years old sat dusty and dirty in glass cabinets for years.

That was until Josh Marzak, 14, of Danville, asked Bonnie White, director of the Thomas Beaver Free Library, what he could do for six hours of service he needed for the Boy Scouts.

White suggested he dust the pieces and clean the cabinets.

“It just went from there because I thought it could be better,” said Josh, who not only cleaned the nearly 1,000 pieces and cabinets but numbered the pieces as well.

He said the work he is doing, which has extended well past six hours, is “to help the community.”

Recently, Bucknell University officials visited the library to start to identify the old rocks, minerals and fossils.

Brad Jordan, director of geology laboratories at Bucknell, said the collection includes pieces from around the world. Some were donated by Thomas Beaver, who founded and built the library. White said others came from a retired Danville High School teacher.

Assisting Jordan was Jim VanFleet, research services librarian at Bucknell.

Jordan said they got through the first of three cabinets and will have to spend several more days at the library.

They will take rocks, minerals and fossils they are unable to identify to Bucknell, where they can use special equipment on the pieces.

Assisting Josh were C.J. Reader and Seth Shultz from his Boy Scout Troop 331 in  Seven Points. Josh will be entering ninth grade in the Pennsylvania Leadership Charter School.

C.J.’s mother, Tonya Reader, of Sunbury, recorded the information about the collection.

Josh said he has taken pictures of three-quarters of the collection, which numbers 982 pieces.

It can be seen during library hours, which are 1 to 8 p.m. Mondays, 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesdays, 10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursdays, noon to 8 Fridays and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays.

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