The Fayette Tribune, Oak Hill, W.Va.

October 29, 2012

Project demo ‘an unqualified success’

From Staff Reports

— Organizers of the Fayette County Boy Scouts demonstration project are still beaming over what they have dubbed “an unqualified success story.”

Charged by the West Virginia Citizen Conservation Corps with selecting a project to help pave the way for the 2013 Community Service Initiative, county leaders selected a project at the county-owned Wolf Creek Park mixed-use business park which combined wetlands learning and restoration elements with a day of community service for students from Midland Trail High School.

“The goal of the demonstration project was to approximate the conditions which will be in place when scouts are on the ground doing their community service during the 2013 jamboree,” said Rachel Davis, Fayette project co-coordinator.

“We wanted to make sure this project provided both the learning and work opportunities which would be both appealing and beneficial to the scouts. Other than our supervisors, all of our project volunteers were provided by principal Diane Blume at Midland Trail High School. We could not think of a better way to demonstrate how things can work when the scouts arrive.”

Participating students were divided into groups and worked under the supervision of adult project leaders. A bird banding demonstration served as the project educational component, providing what project leaders described as the “wow factor,” while also teaching students about the importance of the wetlands habitat they were working to enhance and restore.

The work consisted of the identification and removal of invasive plants which had established themselves in the Wolf Creek wetlands; building wetlands boardwalk handrails and bird boxes; and spreading gravel to fill potholes on the access road to the wetlands boardwalk.

“The boardwalk and wetlands at Wolf Creek Park are a major component of the entire concept of our mixed-use development,” county Resource Coordinator Dave Pollard said. “We are already using this area as a teaching and recreation tool with groups coming to learn about the habitat on at least a monthly basis. This conveys the message to school groups, the general population and tourists alike that preservation of clean water and the environment is not only an economic stimulus, but a necessity for our county moving forward.

“Onsite employees from The Robbins Company also are using this area to hike, jog and relax during their lunch breaks and we have also witnessed a number of people from off-site businesses coming here during their lunch hours. This amenity will help us add businesses to Wolf Creek as well as to improve the quality of life for the business and residential communities across Fayette County,” Pollard added.

The Fayette County Education Fund currently is teaming with the Fayette County Urban Renewal Authority in hosting a traveling team from the National Citizen Conservation Corps. This Ameri-Corps initiative travels throughout the United States providing community project and disaster relief services and their team will be on hand through mid-November extending the wetlands boardwalk and providing other community services.

“Based on our past experience with NCCC we hope to add about 300 feet to the Wolf Creek boardwalk in heading toward our goal of circling the entire 15-acre wetland,” Davis said.

“We will be getting information out to the community to enlist their aid on selected days while also allowing them to see and to learn about the same kinds of things the Midland Trail students accomplished. They did a great job and we truly believe they set the stage for what will be a hugely beneficial week for the entire Fayette County community when the scouts arrive in July of 2013.”