Buchanan Boy Scout nears finish of Eagle Scout project building community garden

BUCHANAN – Over the weekend, progress was planted in Buchanan as a local boy scout worked toward completing his Eagle Scout Project.

Buchanan teen Evan Borgman, of Troop 541, has been working on creating and building a community garden across from Victory Park in Buchanan, near the corner of Arctic and Victory streets. Passers-by can now see elevated planter beds from the park, awaiting their first plants for the season.

“I was looking for a project that would help give to wildlife and give to other people,” Borgman said.

Borgman’s Eagle Service Coach Pat Placher worked with him to find a community need that met both criteria. Both Borgman and Placher have been with Troop 541 for about 12 years.

“[The garden] helps wildlife by providing any of the produce that isn’t picked for the deer to eat. Worms and grubs are already in the beds,” Borgman said. “People can also learn about and pick and eat the food.”

The physical project will likely be finished within a weekend or two, Borgman said.

Plants will be purchased and planted in the beds, as the growing season has already begun.

“[After that], I’ll leave it to the community to make sure to plant it earlier next season,” Borgman said.

Boy Scout Troop 541 Assistant Scoutmaster David Guisebert said an educational component is in the works.

“[The sign] outlines the goals of the project, what the planning process looks like through the year, and when you can expect the harvest,” Guisebert said. “[Scouts] want to use the educational sign to draw in interest, not only to the project but to provide education to the community in the process.”

Guisebert hopes the community garden planter beds will enhance the Buchanan park system and the experience of those visiting the parks.

“At least in my experience, the more time you can spend outdoors, the more it relieves stress,” Guisebert said. “There’s mental health, community and connectiveness benefits. You might meet someone in the neighborhood or the town as you are enjoying the park experience. Those create more pride in your town and community.”

Scouts navigating their Eagle Scout projects learn more than just building something for the community, Guisebert said.

“The outreach is just as important as the project. [Their] example may inspire 10 other projects in the community. I hope that’s the case,” he said. “He’s providing an example as a role model of what good behavior can be in the community.”

In the past, Eagle Scout projects had to be completed before the scout turned 18. With COVID-19 mandates throughout 2020 hindering swift progress, Guisebert said scouts working on their Eagle Scout project could file for an extension.

Borgman, who turned 18 last month, is aiming to finish before his three-month extension is up. As he nears the completion of the project, he has mixed emotions.

“It’s nice to see it end, give it to the community and just have them have fun and grow plants,” Borgman said. “But it’s a bit sad that I won’t continue to have this project to go outside and do and help with [in the same way].”

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