Brownie Scouts and BARC Work Together to Plant Trees


Brownies from Troop 67437. on the playground at Lane School ~ Courtesy image (c) 2022 all rights reserved


Nina Sonpal is only eight years old, but she is already an expert on trees.

“Trees provide oxygen for every living thing on earth,” she asserted in a recent telephone conversation. “Trees also provide homes for animals and birds. Even the twigs that fall can provide material for homes for other animals.” Her third-grade classmate at Job Lane School, Violet Hastings, age nine, agreed, and added, “It’s nice to look at trees.”

Nina and Violet belong to Girl Scout Brownie Troop 67437, which recently received a first-hand lesson in how government can be helpful when its leader and the Bedford Arbor Resources Committee (BARC) brainstormed their way to a practical and sensible tree-planting plan.

Eileen Feldman was on BARC’s agenda last month, looking for a place to plant seedlings. She explained that a majority of the group’s 15 third-grade Brownies voted at the beginning of the year to feature tree-planting as an activity, noting that this is part of a national Girl Scouts initiative to plant five million trees by 2026.

The consensus choice was to plant a larger young tree on the grounds at Lane School, which the girls attend, with the Brownies also planting seedlings on their own, perhaps where they live. (Nina said her favorite tree in the world is a redbud sapling in her back yard, because it marks the burial place of her family’s dog.)

Public Works Director David Manugian agreed to work with the troop on the site, overseeing arrangements to maintain the tree. “You can make it an educational activity, and encourage the girls to understand the value of trees and how to take care of them,” he suggested.

Feldman said she would reach out to Principal Rob Ackerman at Lane to discuss details of time and place. “That will be a fun activity,” Violet commented.

BARC members offered a variety of other ideas for potential sites:

  • The Jenks Nature Trail begins at the library and continues along the length of the high school. Committee member Jacqueline Edwards noted that there are spaces there to replace young trees that died, and an array of species would be appropriate.
  • Along the Shawsheen Road side of Shawsheen Cemetery. Committee Chair Dan Churella said he envisions a lane of trees growing to maturity there; the area is watered by natural drainage.
  • Springs Book Park, including the access road and an area near the parking lot.
  • Individual front or back yards, where the trees could be protected and nurtured, suggested member Molly Haskell.

“We need to be thinking of adding trees integrated into every project we work on,” commented member Deb Edinger.

Members also shared their knowledge and experience about the best species. “My suggestion is to plant native trees,” said Edinger. And regarding saplings, “You are going to need to protect them – the rabbits will just eat them.” She suggested cages made from chicken wire.

Churella observed that “saplings of evergreens, like blue spruce, actually look like trees, which may be more interesting for the Girl Scouts.” Nina said she enjoys looking at evergreens, especially in winter.

Mike Rosenberg can be reached at [email protected], or 781-983-1763

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