Here at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center we love our hard working volunteers. Last year alone they contributed more than 28,000 hours. Among the notable recent achievements were those of several Boy Scouts on their way to earning their Eagle Scout Awards. The Eagle Scout Award is the highest rank possible in the Boy Scouting program and is earned by completing at least 21 merit badges. It must include an extensive service project that the Scout must plan, organize, lead and manage. Thanks to the efforts of three young men, Logan Carl Thomas, Jim Holden, and Harrison Leva, the Wildflower Center boasts a new stockade fence, improvements to the developing arboretum and a red oak grove for the enjoyment of visitors.
Logan Carl Thomas built the stockade fence that encloses the children's play area behind the Little House. Also, it creates a better backdrop for photographs which previously included the loading dock and parking lot. Thomas' project totaled over 300 hours and he admits that the project was "definitely a lot harder than I thought it would be." He began by digging two test holes about 2 feet deep, located nearly 600 red oak poles, set the poles in concrete - using a total of 88 bags of concrete - and hand-twisted wires that secure the logs into place.
Jim Holden, a student at Bowie High School and a member of Troop 9, did significant work for the new arboretum. He enlisted 15 of his fellow Boy Scouts to clear brush under large, mature oaks, lay down mulch and install picnic tables. Holden admitted to "being pretty excited about the development" and believes it will enhance the visitors experience by providing a rest area along the trails. The project consisted of 104 hours of time spent here "having fun working with his fellow scouts."
Harrison Leva planted eight red oak trees grown from acorns gathered from the Lyndon B. Johnson National Historic Park in memory of his grandmother, Virginia Howard, who volunteered at the Center before passing away in 2008. To ensure that the trees behind the administration building would thrive, Leva installed a 200-foot irrigation system made from PVC pipe by digging a line 9 inches deep. Leva completed a total of 143 hours of work with the help of 21 volunteers. Most importantly, he was "really just thankful for the opportunity to do the project in a way that was truly meaningful to me."
All of the boys were responsible for planning their projects, creating a timeline, coordinating volunteers and supervising other scouts. Many of the supplies and materials were supplied from in-house recycled materials. Wildflower Center horticulturist Phillip Schulze supervised the fence and oak grove and Center living collections manager Joe Marcus supervised the arboretum improvements. "The boys did a great job on the projects, and I had fun working with them," added Schulze.