Bay Village girl scout troop earns Bronze Award
In partnership with The Herb Guild and with the support of the Bay Village Historical Society, Bay Village Girl Scout Troop 70769 earned the Bronze Award for their garden project at the Osborne Learning Center and the base of the Rose Hill Museum sign.
The Bronze Award is the highest honor possible for a Junior Girl Scout. Each member of the troop was also awarded a Certificate of Achievement from Mayor Paul Koomar, and the troop was honored at The Herb Guild's annual scholarship luncheon.
As part of The Herb Guild's efforts to educate young people about Ohio's native plants, the 14 members of the troop embarked on a six-month journey of research, planning, meetings with gardening experts and then actually planting, mulching and watering more than 50 plants of 10 different varieties, all native to Ohio.
In January, the troop met with Fran Wilhelm of The Herb Guild, who told them about the native plant project and gave them copies of the requirements of the project, as well as a list of plants, with photos, that they could research. Each girl chose a flower to research and then shared that research with the troop, including the needs of the plant like water, sunlight and soil.
The research included meeting with expert gardeners who were not only members of The Herb Guild, but current or past residents of Bay Village, and many of whom were once Girl Scouts themselves. They also met with Cathy Flament from the Historical Society and a former Girl Scout, who showed the girls photos of the gardens in the early 1900s.
It was an incredible experience to meet with these women and hear their stories about gardening and Girl Scouts. Marianne Peden brought a Girl Scout handbook from when she was a member of a troop in the 1960s; Shirley Swindell presented the troop with the gift of a beautiful book about basic gardening; Glendalee Burns shared her love of gardening and how it started with her interest in the medicinal properties of certain plants; Fran Wilhelm shared her experiences as a gardener, Girl Scout and Girl Scout leader. She also shared with the girls that the Cahoon family planted their garden just outside the kitchen door so that when a particular spice or vegetable was needed, the kids ran outside and grabbed it. As their leader, it was very fulfilling to watch the two generations connect about nature, life and their different hobbies and interests.
The next step was to measure the areas around the Osborne Learning Center and at the base of the Rose Hill Museum sign. With the help of Jon Liskovec of the city’s building department, the girls learned that anything that was planted had to be at least a foot or more from the edges of the historic building so that when the plants grew larger, they would not harm the exterior of the building. Taking into consideration all that had been learned from their research, a plot plan was created and then approved by The Herb Guild, who provided the plants.
Some of the plants were purchased from local sources and others, including an historic variety of feverfew, were donations from the gardens of Bay Village residents. Some of the flowers chosen included butterfly bush, coneflower, black-eyed Susan, columbine, sunflower and asters. Currently the feverfew is in full bloom and the butterfly bushes still have some colorful blossoms.
The pride the troop members feel will only increase with time as the flowers they planted continue to grow larger each year.