Microprojects Make Big Community Impact
From Keith Larson, Community Service Project Coordinator
Southern Conservation Trust
During 2015, a total of 75 Eagle Scout and 7 Girl Scout Goal Award projects were completed in Fayette County. These projects were planned and led by high-school-age youth to specifically meet public and non-profit beneficiary needs, and averaged more than 200 hours of volunteer service with a net estimated value of more than $200,000 of donated labor and materials. This quantity of senior Scout projects happens every year. Numerous other Scout crews, packs, troops, teams, church groups, and clubs also complete service projects probably totaling equal value to the individual projects. All of these service events by our youth and community groups make a significant lasting contribution to improving our community. The measurable results of their efforts are all around you at the special events the youth host, or as permanent improvements you experience at neighborhood schools, churches, parks and nature areas. None of these projects would be possible without the continued financial and volunteer support of local civic groups and individuals.
A specific example of the impact of these contributions applied in a single location are the projects supporting the Southern Conservation Trust developing the new Ridge Nature Area in Fayetteville. Between 2013 and the opening slated in July this year, more than twenty youth and youth group projects have constructed the 5.6-mile trail system and have built six trail bridges, two trail shelters, and a youth campsite. Habitat improvements include the clearing and replanting of two Piedmont meadows, wetlands and a forest plot; erecting two bat houses and deploying turtle shelters. A hazardous waste cleanup removed over 5,000 pounds of debris. Another troop project created an orienteering course. Additional service days have cleared the picnic and parking areas and maintained the trail system. The projects at the Ridge are a clear demonstration of our youth’s capacity and dedication to building our community up for the future.