VESTAL, N.Y. (WIVT/WBGH) – A Vestal High School Junior is inspiring the community to learn more about the Town of Vestal with the completion of her Girl Scouts Gold Award Project.

In coordination with the town’s bicentennial celebration, Mary Sonnen has brought five signs to Vestal parks, each detailing 50 years of Vestal’s history from 1773-2022.

Each sign depicts a significant point or moment in town history. Vestal’s archeological history sign, 1773 to 1822, is located in Ethel Park. Located in Memorial Park is the sign celebrating Vestal’s first 50 years as an established town, from 1823 to 1872. Twin Orchards Park, located on the Rail Trail, is home to the 1873 to 1922 sign which depicts the train wreck. Stair Park near Binghamton University highlights the education boom with the 1923 to 1972 sign and Vestal’s most recent history is depicted in a sign located at Arnold Park.

Each sign has QR codes that link the reader to the Vestal History Museum where all five signs can be accessed along with the Vestal Town websites for more information.

The Girl Scouts Gold Award is the highest-level award a Girl Scout can earn. It is equivalent to a Boy Scout Eagle Award and requires a High School Girl Scout to identify a local, important issue to her in order to make a substantial contribution to the community.

Sonnen has long been interested in history, starting her journey in the fourth grade at Vestal Hills Elementary by completing a yearlong project of creating a Town of Vestal Scrapbook. Sonnen’s goal when completing the Gold Award Project was to inspire Vestal’s younger population to learn more about the history of the town to better understand the landmarks we see each day.

To complete this project, Sonnen worked closely with Vestal Town Historian Margaret Hadsell, Vestal Museum Director Cherese Rosales, Vestal High School History Teacher Brian McKinley, the VHS History Club, the Vestal Highway Department, and the Town of Vestal Board.