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Forestport students choose name of new state forest

By Nicole Pitt

FORESTPORT, N.Y. (WKTV) - The newest parcel of state land is nestled in the Town of Forestport. The name of the forest was chosen with the help of some local students.

The 518 acre parcel is a diverse habitat full of wetlands and trees. All state officials needed was a perfect name.

"We had an absolutely wonderful time today with the benefit of having the Tug Hill Commission and the Tug Hill Tomorrow Land Trust and DEC staff working together to have a contest among the children of Forestport Elementary to select the name for our newest State Forest in New York," said Judy Drabicki, Regional Director of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. "They did a great job and they were attentive and involved and they really worked very hard to make this happen so we're very excited."

Not one, but two of the students came up with the winning name "Punkeyville." A name with some history in Forestport.

"At first I was in my classroom and I was reading an article and Miss Burns actually told me that we had so many deer flies and ticks that they called it Punkeyville," said Dylan Cabic, 4th Grade, one of two students who submitted the winning name. "At first I thought you know it's not that good, I might not win and then it turned out to be first place and I was really happy!"

"At first I couldn't think of anything for a name," said Phoenix Swasey. "I kind of live right next to the State Forest and there's a lot of black flies around it and right where I live there's a lot. It's really cool. I'm really excited to go there next time."

"We just loved it," said Drabicki. "And we're very excited when two of them get to win because as you saw those were really nice signs that they made for them to get to take home."

Don Carbone sold the parcel to the state about six months ago. "My intended use was to return it back to the people of Forestport," said Carbone. "I added a couple of other pieces to it through the years and it finally got sold to the state and the people of Forestport now own it."

The contest also doubled as a great lesson on Earth Day. "What's nice about living in an area like this is it's close," said Drabicki. "They can go and visit it very often. To have been a part of a name in a contest to give it a name and to say hey I was involved. I'm hoping it provides them the connection to make it very real to them."

The runner up in the contest was also given a plaque today. Joshuah Guernsey, 5th Grade, chose the name "Wildcat State Forest." The Wildcat is the mascot of Adirondack Central School.

After the ceremony the sign was hung up in front of the State Forest.

Included in the 518 acre parcel is a one mile stretch of the Black River.

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