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Girl Scout hopes for gold with courtyard project

Girl Scout hopes for gold with courtyard project Girl Scout hopes for gold with courtyard project
Kaitlyn Clay, Staff Writer, [email protected]

Nina Irvin, a senior at Lanesville Junior-Senior High School, has worked extensively to achieve a dream of hers this year: to earn a Girl Scout Gold award, something only 5% of those in Girl Scouts achieve.

This award is the highest Award Girl Scout Seniors and Ambassadors can earn. Irvin has been working about a month on a project that could qualify her for the award in an area that she is extremely passionate about. She has been remodeling and working on a makeover and beautification project for the Lanesville school courtyard.

During a meeting of the Lanesville Community School Corp. Board of Trustees last Tuesday, Irvin explained that she was always passionate about this area growing up in the Lanesville school community but thought it was just a bit drab or not kept up in a way that would inspire the students at the schools. So, she took it upon herself to start making contacts with local gardeners, her Girl Scout troop leader and those in the community to see what could be done to make a difference.

“I realized stress levels in schools have only increased during school, due to COVID, for teachers and students,” Irvin said. “Stress has a big impact over grades, and, if one student is stressed, it creates a domino effect around them, impacting others to have the negative effects of stress.

“But if one student is happy, it can have a positive effect on those around them as well, she said. “That’s what I was shooting for with this project. I want this space to be a place where students can reflect on who they are and, hopefully, find a sense of peace for a minute.”

Irvin told the board some of the work that was done as part of this makeover project. One included removing a tree which had a root wrapped around a pipeline underneath the school, which will prevent any damage happening to the pipes in the future.

She also excitedly told how she and the volunteers who helped her in this project uncovered a former patio area that was placed there by a prior graduating class that now hosts two benches for students to sit and relax.

Irvin was able to work with a community Master Gardener to learn about plants and what specific types and styles would work best in certain areas and conditions based on lighting and space. She was able to plant a dogwood tree and a lilac tree that will show off Lanesville’s school colors of white and purple when in full bloom.

Her team also built a retaining wall to break up the harsh, straight lines so people didn’t feel so boxed in. They were able to fill some of that with lavender, a calming plant, and also create a rock garden as well. They repurposed all of the benches and spray painted them purple to show off more school spirit.

Remodeling the courtyard isn’t where Irvin stops either. She is currently making a binder that will be placed in the school office that will explain the plants and resources used to maintain them so that students at Lanesville will be able to maintain the courtyard for years to come.

“This award is about sustainability and making the world a better place for as long as I can,” Irvin said. “I’m also working on a courtyard fund that will be able to provide money specifically to be used for the upkeep of every area of the courtyard.”

Steve Morris, superintendent of the school corporation, and the board thanked Irvin for everything she has done for the school corporation, noting she has made a wonderful impact and difference on the Lanesville community.

Irvin, who reluctant to take all the credit for the project, expressed her appreciation to the numerous volunteers and mentors who helped her with the project.

The project will be sent on to Girl Scout headquarters in New York, where it will be determined if she qualifies for the gold award.