Monday, November 16, 2009

Eagle Scout Project at Stone-Tolan

Saturday, October 24, 2009 saw the completion of an Eagle Scout candidate’s project designed to satisfy the curiosity of visitors to the Landmark Society’s Stone-Tolan House Museum property who ask, "What is that tree? What is that shrub? What is that herb? His idea was to produce permanent labels for the noteworthy plants on the grounds. As Horticulturist for the Landmark Society, I had spent hours rewriting labels every year that had become faded or had deteriorated due to their exposure to the weather. I was happy to supervise his worthy endeavor.

Timothy Castelein, a member of Tay House, Seneca Waterways Council, Inc.(formerly Otetiana Council, Inc.), Boy Scouts of America, worked for most of the summer to establish labeling systems for the many kinds of plants on the property. He sought advice about proper nomenclature so that he could include both the scientific and common names of the plants on the labels. He worked diligently to make corrections to an existing list of plants and worked with me to identify which plants should be labeled. He learned how to use the labeling machine at the County Parks’ Lamberton Conservatory and produced the 115 anodized -aluminum permanently-stamped labels he needed for the project and then determined the best ways to attach the labels to trees, shrubs and herbs. For the herb garden he was careful to choose a material for the stakes that would not leach chemicals into the soil. Instead of pressure-treated wood, he found a composite waterproof product made from recycled materials. We are grateful to the Monroe County Parks Department for granting Timothy permission to use their labeling machine.

Timothy was required to supervise a group of people as one of the criteria for his Eagle Scout award so he enlisted the help of some other scouts to cut the stakes and attaché the labels to them with epoxy.

When it came time to place the labels on the plants he organized a group of volunteers and friends who met early on a Saturday morning and worked hard to accomplish the task. His preparation and leadership skills made short work of the jobs. Everyone seemed to be having fun learning about the plants and sharing information. I certainly enjoyed working with these energetic young people and some of their parents.

It was evident immediately that the project was a success when one of our docents, staff member Sharon Pratt arrived to open the Stone-Tolan House Museum for our usual Saturday tours. She was thrilled to see the new labels on the plants and said that the scheduled school tours in the next couple of weeks would be enhanced by the information now readily available to all comers. And I saw the benefit as visitors to the property started reading the labels as we were preparing to leave for the day.

Timothy deserves the gratitude of the Landmark Society of Western New York and all of the future visitors to our Stone-Tolan House Museum for a job well done!

Posted by Beverly Gibson, The Landmark Society Horticulturist