Scout plants skills for troop honor

POULSBO —  While retention ponds may serve more of a functional purpose for drainage rather than as a landscaping feature, Boy Scout Wesley Vincent thought the ponds next to the Poulsbo Library on Iverson Road needed some sprucing up.

And on Saturday morning, in the pouring rain, he had about 30 people — friends and family from school, church and Troop 1590 — plant 29 shrubs, willow trees and sedge grasses along the steep banks.

The end result: better looking retention ponds and hopefully, an Eagle Scout Award for Vincent.

The North Kitsap High School senior has been working the past four months to organize the effort.

“I really liked the idea of beautification and looking at the retention ponds, it looked really bland and needed flavor (added) to it,” Vincent said.

On the recommendation of Poulsbo Parks and Recreation Director Mary McCluskey and Joe Walker of the city’s Public Works department, Vincent approached the Poulsbo Tree Board and worked with the city’s arborist Kevin McFarland about making the once plain ponds easier on the eyes. Vincent attended tree board meetings and gave updates on how the project was progressing.

“It’s been fun watching him take on direction of this and watch him grow,” McFarland said.

McFarland suggested what plants to use, including Blue Arctic Willow trees and red and yellow dogwood bushes, and Vincent mapped the layout of the landscaping. He was also able to attain a grant of $450 from the Poulsbo Garden Club to help pay for the plants and Vern’s Organic Topsoil sold him quality mulch at a good price, Vincent said. Valley Nursery, Ace Hardware and Sound Urban Forestry also contributed to the project.

One of the final steps toward completion includes installing a drip irrigation system this week, which will provide a regular supply of water to the plants.

Vincent had a huge pile of mulch leftover from the planting, so wheelbarrows and pickup trucks were filled up and mulch was unloaded into the library’s gardens.

Vincent will go before the tree board next month, explain the results of his project and present a slide show, he said. He will then go before a Boy Scout committee and explain his project. He hopes to have his Eagle Scout award in about two months, just before his deadline — his 18th birthday, July 28.

Vincent said the experience has taught him how to be a better leader and how to better manage a group of people.

“Can’t say I didn’t do too bad but I could have done better,” he said. “I’ve had some really great teachers that have mentored me through this.”

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