By Mary O’KEEFE
Recently Crescenta Valley seniors were invited to an afternoon tea and stroll through a lovely Californian garden at Crescenta Valley Park.
The tea was a celebration of the end of a long and at times very difficult journey that Girl Scout Nancy Au began many months ago.
“I wanted to have a place that I could come by and say, ‘I was part of that,’” Au recalled.
About four months ago Au, a junior at Village Christian High School and a Girl Scout with troop 290, took on the task of designing and completing a senior garden at the park as part of her Gold Award.
The idea of the garden began about four years ago with park director Lila Johnson-Crenshaw. Community members including Don and Esther Norbut and Brownie Girl Scout Troop 680 joined to clear and plant the area just north of the park’s community building. The garden’s upkeep was eventually charged to Girl Scout Brianne Johnson from troop 290. She encouraged other scouts to help.
“She inspired me,” Au said.
Au added she wanted to do something that would have a lasting affect on the community and the garden was a perfect idea.
Everything from the weather to the economy has affected her gardening efforts. At first donations came in slowly but eventually, with Au’s never-give-up attitude, donors began to help including Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael Antonovich, Crescenta Valley Town Council, L.A. County Parks and Recreation, Friends of Crescenta Valley Park, Jackson Shrub Supply, California Department of Transportation, Do It Center in Burbank and the Girl Scouts.
“There was a place in Simi Valley where you could get free dirt so I went and got it,” Au said.
Au, along with friends, community members and fellow Scouts, spent hours planting and raking.
“This is invaluable for the park,” said Larry Muepo, supervisor at CV Park. “If we had to have our workers create and maintain this garden we would have to cut a program.”
For Au, the garden was a labor of love and community spirit. The garden has many California native plants, a pathway and benches.
“She worked so hard and spent so many hours on this project. She likes to share the credit with others but she really deserves a lot of credit,” said Adrienne Griffin, a Girl Scout leader and member of the Friends of Crescenta Valley Park.