Eagle candidate Ben Walker planted trees around the playground at Stowers Elementary as his service project to earn the prestigious rank of Eagle Scout.

Humid weather and the merciless Florida sun can sometimes make playing on the playground at Stowers Elementary difficult, even for the most heat-tolerant children.

“When we’re outside on the playground and it’s close to summer I’m just sweating and sweating,” said second-grade student Lily Schweiss. “I wish there was some shade because then maybe we’d be able to play outside longer.”
Shweiss’ wish has come true.

Valrico resident and boy scout eagle candidate Ben Walker coordinated with the school’s principal, Catherine Lennard, to plant seven 15-ft. laurel oak trees around the playground.

“When I made the announcement that trees were being planted around the playground at a faculty meeting our teachers cheered,” said Lennard.

Walker also spoke with representatives of The Mosaic Company, who donated the trees, purchased from Turner Trees, for the project.

“Education is one of the big areas where we concentrate our community investment,” said Mosaic Public Affairs Manager Russell Schweiss.

Walker planted the trees with the help of his family, members of Boy Scout Troop #61 and the school’s staff.

In addition to planting the trees, Walker also constructed a shelving unit to house the school’s lost and found items.
To earn the prestigious Eagle rank, a Boy Scout must progress through the ranks of Tenderfoot, Second Class, First Class, Star and Life, earn 21 merit badges, serve six months in a troop leadership position, take part in a scoutmaster conference, organize and execute one service project and successfully complete an Eagle Scout board of review.
Ben’s mom, Kim Walker, who is a teacher at Stowers, said Ben has really enjoyed the structure of scouting and he has been able to quickly move through the program.

Even after his Eagle has been awarded, the lasting effects of his Eagle project will resonate with the staff and students of Stowers Elementary for years to come.

Shade is a precious commodity in Florida. “When the trees are grown they’ll provide shade and keep us cool,” said Schweiss.

For more information about Boy Scouting, visit www.scouting.org.

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Michelle Caceres
MIchelle Caceres has been writing for the Osprey Observer for seventeen years. She enjoys writing human interest pieces about inspiring members of the community who are working to better our community. She lives in FishHawk Ranch with her husband and recently became an empty-nester. When not writing, Michelle is serving her church community, reading and enjoying Florida's weather.