Scout targets Todd Park for Eagle project

Published 7:03 am Tuesday, April 13, 2010

About a year ago, right after a tornado had lashed its way through Austin, Jerome Green came up with an idea.

The 16-year-old Eagle Scout and Austin High School sophomore decided that Todd Park — which was among the areas hardest hit by the storm, losing roughly 350 to 400 trees — could use some TLC.

Now, 10 months and $500 worth of fundraising later, Green is ready to supply that care, in the form of six to 10 trees that he will plant later this spring.

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“I realized it would be best for the community to try to replace those trees,” Green said.

The Eagle Scout’s idea soon became the seed of a leadership project, which is required of all Eagle Scouts. This meant Green had to draft a proposal and seriously plan out how his idea would become reality.

Luckily for him, he’s had plenty of help from his family.

Green’s father is his troop’s scout master, while his mother, Kathy Green, is also in a leadership role with the troop. Combined, the elder Greens have been involved with scouting for more than 20 years, and Kathy Green said her son’s idea definitely fits the mold of a good leadership project.

“I thought it was a terrific idea,” she said.

Past leadership projects have run the gamut, from building a new courtyard for a local church to mapping out the city’s sidewalks to cutting down the area mosquito population. However, Kathy Green said they have all had a common thread — community impact and creativity.

Certainly, Jerome Green’s project is bound to have a community impact, as it will help restore a park that Kathy Green calls a “gem” of Austin.

And it has required plenty of creativity to get the necessary funding. Beyond turning to family members for donations, the Greens also put on a successful church bake sale.

With $500 raised, Jerome Green will be able to buy a number of 25-gallon trees from Berg’s Nursery in Austin. He was told by the Austin parks and recreation board to get a variety of trees, including maple, oak and spruce, and to avoid ash altogether, given the threat of the emerald ash borer beetle.

When purchased, Jerome Green will next coordinate with the parks and recreation department to find a good spot. The department is expecting a large shipment of trees to arrive soon thanks to Hormel Foundation dollars, so Jerome’s trees will be worked in around the others. Most likely, Jerome will get to plant sometime in May.

Parks and recreation director Kim Underwood said the idea is a win-win for everyone involved.

“It’s a great opportunity for him to get a badge,” she said, “and it’s great for the community.”

Though Jerome Green will get Eagle Scout kudos for the work, he said it’s the community benefit that is driving him, not individual recognition. The trees will not be marked or labeled, but will rather simply blend in with the rest of Todd Park, maybe someday producing the seeds of future trees.

And that’s just the way Jerome Green likes it.

“It’s more for the future,” he said. “Hopefully, one tree might turn into two, and so on.”

Get to know: Jerome Green

Age: 16

School: Austin High School (sophomore)

Siblings: Four brothers, ages 20, 22, 25 and 27

Interests/affiliations: Basketball, baseball, choir, student council