Local Scouts have played an important role in creating the Lucas Pfieffenberger Nature Trail that winds through the woods by the Besser Museum's village of historic structures.
The trail originally was blazed by Boy Scout Brandon Borke who tackled the project in pursuit of his Eagle Scout Award. Two Girl Scouts have recently continued his efforts.
"The Girl Scouts approached us and asked if they could do some indigenous plant life identification, make signs to place in front of the trees and plants, and if they could make the trail handicap accessible," said Besser Museum Public Relations Manager Amanda Dozier. "We immediately agreed."
Cassie Dubie and Faith Pausits, members of Girl Scout Troop 2056, set about cleaning up the trail as part of a Silver Award project. Under the direction of Leader Deb Hautau, eight girls joined Dubie and Pausits in removing debris, cutting back invasive autumn olive, laying down a liner and then topping it off with fine gravel to make it easier for elderly and handicapped individuals to enjoy the trail.
"The Silver Award is the second highest award that a Girl Scout can receive with the Gold Award being the highest," Hautau said. "But Silver is the highest at the Cadette level. Faith is still a Cadette in Troop 2056. Cassie has just bridged up to Seniors."
The duo took their efforts several steps further, too. They made wooden plaques for a tree identification activity along the trail. Fourteen stations now identify and teach facts about the trees along the path, with a handout to accompany the activity. A mailbox was installed at the trail head to house the handouts.
Lastly, they turned the remains of a building foundation eyesore at the beginning of the trail into a wildflower planting bed. It will contain identified plants that can be seen along the trail.
"Now the museum will be handicapped accessible inside and out," Dozier said. "The Nature Trail will not just be a walk through the woods, but has now become interactive and educational for everyone something the museum strives to do on a day-to-day basis."
To cover the cost of the project, the Girl Scouts approached two local businesses. Specification Stone and Home Depot both helped out with the continuing work on the trail.
The trail originally was dedicated to Pfieffenberger, a huge supporter of the Boy Scouts and the Besser Museum.
"This is just another prime example of the community coming together to support one another," Dozier of the good work done by everyone involved. "These girls saw a way to make a difference, to teach all generations about the amazing environment around them and to leave a legacy. That is really something to be proud of."