By Mary O’KEEFE
Girl Scout Troop 423-1 has mixed horticultural science with philanthropic work and Two Strike Park is the beneficiary.
The girls, based at both Monte Vista and Valley View Elementary schools, are working on their Silver Award by taking over a former Gold Award project. About two years ago, Scout Brianna Johnson created a pondless stream at the park as her Gold Award project. It was surrounded by California native plants and had large La Crescenta boulders for people to sit on. Since then the pond has been abused by nature because of the rain and mud, but also by visitors.
“Children run through the stream and dogs use it as a [water bowl],” said 423-1 troop co-leader Michele Fernandez.
In fact, one dog owner became argumentative with Fernandez about the purpose of the stream. “He argued with me that this was made [specifically] for dogs to drink out of,” she said.
That is not the case. The stream was originally designed by Johnson as a teaching garden and place for quiet reflection. It has a complex system of filters and a liner that can be ripped by dogs or kids running through it.
Fernandez and co-leadeTrang Spero’s troop has taken on the project and spent several hours learning about native plants, planting them and repairing the damaged stream. The girls will continue to maintain the area for years to come. Brianna’s dad Mike has volunteered to maintain the mechanics of the water feature.
Scouts Allie Fernandez and Rachel Yeh worked together to plant along the rocky sides of the garden/stream. “We went to a few different nurseries to learn about native plants but then chose Theodore Payne [Foundation] and got our plants,” said Allie.
“We will be here every weekend to clear the stream and keep it clean,” Rachel added.
The girls found it difficult to raise funds for the project. La Cañada Rustic Stone stepped up to donate the gravel and rock. The girls then dipped into their cookie money to cover the costs of the plants.
“We are very proud of the fact that these girls took their cookie money to help the community,” Spero said.
Eventually this stream and garden will be a place where the community can not only enjoy in quiet moments but also learn what native plants are available for the area.