Girl Scouts build outdoor classroom at CES
Submitted by: Heidi Buchan
Junior Girl Scout Troop 42 from Westfield Center recently completed its Bronze Award Project. Earning the Bronze Award shows a Girl Scout’s commitment to helping others, improving her community and world, and becoming the best she can be. The award signifies the highest recognition for Girl Scout Juniors. The project must meet a community need and requires a minimum of 20 hours of focused work and planning on the project.
The girls uncovered a need at their new school – Cloverleaf Elementary School. The school had recently received a $2,500 grant from the Hinckley-based company Clinical RM for the first phase of an outdoor classroom to be used by the elementary students. The girls worked with gifted coordinator Kris Rutledge and CES principals Bob Falkenberg and Karen Martin to create a wildlife observation blind and bench. The school, with the grant money, would also purchase bird feeders and binoculars.
Catching a glimpse of a rabbit, squirrel, bird or deer is fun, but that glimpse is usually after the animal has seen you and is departing. There is a special thrill about being able to see wildlife up-close, without being detected. Observation blinds can help provide that opportunity. The girls built the blind with two levels of observation viewing areas of varying heights to offer views to younger students and a higher view for older students. The girls included a permanent eight-foot-long bench for casual viewers to sit and take in the sounds of the area.
Many steps and processes were included in the project. At first, the site was cleared and a path built to the site by the girls. The troop girls then hand-picked all of the treated lumber from Lodi Lumber and received a tour of the lumber mill by James Rice. The platforms for the observation blind were built by the girls with plenty of dads on hand to assist. The girls operated a miter saw and circular saw, drilled pilot holes and used screws in making the observation blind platforms. An auger was rented to drill the holes for the blind and bench. The platforms were then transported to the site and the posts were cemented in. The cement was hand-mixed by the girls. The blind and bench were built on-site. Frank Brothers supplied mulch for the path to the bird blind.
Dan Bertsch, chief naturalist with the Medina County Park District, visited to educate fifth-grade students on the woodlands area of the property. Beth Schnabel, education specialist with the Medina County Soil and Water Conservation District, also visited to educate fourth-grade students on the impact the new building has had on the water system of the area.
The girls had a plaque made by Dora Kaufman at First Place Awards. They were able to watch as a nice plaque was engraved with their names and the “Bronze Award” distinction for the blind. The project was a great troop and team effort. Many dads and moms helped with the project as well. We would like to extend a special thank-you to all who assisted the troop with this project. Greg Boltz, who is an industrial arts teacher, was our lead “supervisor” on the project. A special thank-you to Greg for all of the planning and extra work that went into the project.
Girls in the troop: Annacia Dienes, Bailey Freeland Emily Henn, Kaylee Riddell, Leslie Shimko, Maddie Boltz, Mariel Leatherman, Morgan Munchick, Meagan Scheck, McKenna Jordan, Ryleigh King, Tanzi Buchan. Leader: Sally Boltz. Co-leader: Kelly King.