Saturday, June 12, 2021

The Many Gifts of Girl Scout Troop 71837

Herrontown Woods was the recipient this year of what surely is one of the most ambitious and multifaceted efforts by a girl scout troop to have a beneficial impact on a nature preserve. Girl Scout Troop 71837, with girls 10-11 years old led by Danielle Rollmann and Heather Harnley, contacted the Friends of Herrontown Woods back in August of 2020. Since then, they have contributed their time and effort to the preserve in many ways. 

For starters, during a remarkable spring workday, they swept the parking lot area clean of garlic mustard--an invasive species that spreads aggressively if not pulled up before it goes to seed.

They were fascinated by the big skunk cabbage leaves along the stream, and took a break to check out the little frog pond at the Barden.

With guidance from their leaders, they then quickly became adept at using power tools, drilling holes and setting screws in repurposed wood to construct boardwalks for wet spots on our trails.

Another initiative spurred by the girl scouts' involvement was a new trail map for Herrontown Woods. The girls walked the trails with GPS tracking software, then sent the files to graphic artist Alison Carver, who worked with the girl scouts and FOHW to create a beautiful and detailed new map. Troop funds paid for the first 500 copies.

The scouts also painted new trail markers to greatly aid hikers in finding their way through the preserve. In the photo, you can see remnants of yellow paint, very possibly from when another girl scout troop helped mark trails, many decades ago, 

A particularly innovative project the girl scouts helped with is the creation of a Veblen Circle of native plants around the gazebo at Herrontown Woods' botanical art garden (nicknamed the Barden). Working with FOHW board member Inge Regan, the girls developed informative labels for thirty species of native wildflowers. 

Visitors to the Barden can see the wildflowers growing up in their individual cages, becoming like the pictures on the labels.

With help from Deane, the grandfather of one of the girls, the scouts made ten birdhouses, which FOHW volunteer Robert Chong then installed at Herrontown Woods' three landmark sites: Veblen House, the Cottage farmstead, and the Barden.

The scouts' volunteer efforts worked much like a matching grant. The positive energy and persistence they brought to the project prompted a similar input of energy and focus by FOHW's board members and other volunteers, completing projects that might otherwise have remained indefinitely in the "good idea" stage. 

The Friends of Herrontown Woods is grateful for all the work and spirit these confident girls brought to the project, and the opportunity to witness and participate in the mentoring of another generation of stewards of nature. 

May they return many times to Herrontown Woods to enjoy the fruits of their labors.