Thank you Mark Oldham & the Boy Scouts of Troop 641 & their advisors for working on the first Eagle Scout project at Deer Park Prairie on November 15, 2014. This project was part of the 100-year celebration of the Boy Scouts of America in Southeast Texas; local boy scouts were aiming for a total of 100,000 hours of service on that day.
The project objective was to clear approximately half of the fenceline, full of dense overgrown, mostly non-native shrubs & trees, between the house on the prairie and the cemetary. The cleared fenceline will also act as a firebreak and a perimeter path for visitors.
Mark did a wonderful job of raising the money to fund the project, organizing the tools and equipment, gathering the volunteers, their food and water, and directing the volunteers to their tasks. He gave all a safety talk at the beginning. The boys used hand tools, Glenn Merkord was there with a chainsaw to cut larger trees and limbs.
Cutting the trees and shrubbery was only half the task. To remove the trimmings, Mark had rented a chipper and arranged efficiently for it to arrive after the volunteers had cut for a couple of hours. Mark’s father Steve Oldham and another scout leader, Mark Lee, ran the chipper, which really reduced the size of the trimmings pile until it broke down an hour later. The maintenance person, who eventually came said that it could not be fixed on site and took it away.
Then it was onto plan B. Mark directed the scout volunteers to load Glenn’s trailer for removal. One load went to the city recycling center, which would only take that load, since we did not have an ID to match the utility bill. One load was piled at the front of the house for the heavy trash on Wednesday. The final two trailerfuls were added to the brush pile on the northwest corner of the property.
As they were working two neighbors came to the fenceline and told the boys how happy they were that the fenceline was being cleared. One neighbor even donated to Mark’s project fund.
The hard-working Mark and his scouts, leaders, and volunteers cleared the desired amount of fenceline and removed the trimmings, despite the fact that the rented chipper broke down. They accomplished all that by by mid-afternoon – a terrific achievement! A HUGE THANK YOU TO ALL!
A huge thank you also to Deer Park Prairie Volunteer and Gulf Coast Master Naturalist Janis Terry, who had proposed this project to Mark and his advisor, Dr. Jeff Allen and who coordinated it.
This project was a wonderful experience for all of us. We at Deer Park Prairie will hopefully get more scouts projects in the future!