The Fayette Tribune, Oak Hill, W.Va.

August 19, 2013

Wender: Initiative makes ‘lasting impact’

From staff reports

— Ranging from Meadow Bridge and Layland, Ansted and Hico, Fayetteville and Oak Hill, Mount Hope and Scarbro, Montgomery and Morris Creek, and all points in between, the Boy Scouts Community Service Initiative has left an indelible mark on Fayette County. All told, in excess of 30 Fayette County projects were completed over the course of the five-day Initiative, with a total economic impact in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, according to officials.

“The county commission extends its deep appreciation to the hundreds of people in our communities who stepped up to develop and supervise these projects,” Matthew Wender, commission president, said. “They will not only have a lasting impact for Fayette County in terms of what they have done in those communities, but also in what they delivered to thousands of Scouts who have gone home with an appreciation for southern West Virginia and a knowledge of what we are all about.

“The commission committed $16,500 to these projects and the Urban Renewal Authority added yet another $2,500 to that pot for a project at Wolf Creek Park. It was a small price indeed for what transpired,” he added.

“We were amazed by the enthusiasm and the hard work turned in by these Scouts,” said Dave Pollard, county resource coordinator. “Over the course of five days we cut, dressed and mulched a half-mile woodlands trail that connects with our wetlands boardwalk. We host hundreds of students per year and provide them with insight on the importance of the natural environment and a sustainable economy. This trail will enable us to show them an even more diverse habitat by juxtaposing wetlands with woodlands and the different roles they play in the natural environment. And I think even more importantly we show how nature can not only coexist with business and residential development, but also how it can actually augment and encourage economic development.”

In an e-mail sent to the Wolf Creek project coordinators, Mary Spence, an adult volunteer with a troop from Tampa, Fla., wrote, “Thank you SO much for giving our boys a wonderful and meaningful day of service at the Boy Scout Jamboree in West Virginia. I was inspired by your work and by you personally.”

“These kinds of comments were echoed throughout the county and the many wonderful projects our people put together,” said Rachel Davis, Fayette Initiative co-champion. “Wolf Creek Park is just a reflection of that overall effort that spanned the county. They had troops from Florida, New York, Georgia, Oklahoma and Michigan at Wolf Creek alone, so you can just imagine the kind of nationwide exposure we received as a whole for our county.”

According to Wender the new trail and the wetlands boardwalk are there for the public to enjoy as well as being an amenity for the Wolf Creek business community. “It is a wonderful place to come out and relax, enjoy nature and experience the wildlife that occurs around the wetlands. We encourage our citizens to see what is going on there,” he said.

In addition to being able to go out and enjoy the boardwalk and trail on your own, public programming is offered monthly and led by acclaimed naturalist Dr. Bill Hilton Jr., consulting director of the New River Birding and Nature Center at Wolf Creek Park. To obtain information on programming and receive e-mail alerts, contact Rachel Davis at 304-574-4339 or rachel@wolfcreekparkwv.com.