Davis High School sophomore David Best was running into a little difficulty last spring when trying to exercise his goat at the Davis High FFA barn — namely, weeds.
In the area alongside the barn, where it borders Oak Avenue, weeds were knee-high in some places and more than 6 feet tall in others.
“We’d walk around the barn but he’d always stop and eat the weeds,” recalled Best. “So I thought, ‘Let’s get rid of them.’ ”
He’d already been thinking of improving the area as part of his Eagle Scout service project and approached DHS agriculture teacher Ellie Michel with his plan. Once he got the go-ahead from Michel, as well as from those overseeing local Eagle Scout projects, Best and his dad spent a couple of hours just walking around the barn area, figuring out what else needed doing.
In addition to actually pulling weeds, Best said, “we decided we needed to put down weed block (essentially, plastic sheets) so it wouldn’t come back,” he said.
They also decided to organize storage areas and build a brand-new shed.
The Eagle Scout project was something Best had always planned to do. Back when he first started in Scouts as a 10- or 11-year-old, Best began collecting and recycling cans. By the time he was ready to start on his project, he figured he probably had about $100 in the account. Turned out he’d accumulated $475. That, along with some lawn-mowing money he’d saved would cover the cost of supplies for the project.
Friends, family members and fellow Scouts in Troop 139, meanwhile, provided the elbow grease.
In addition to pulling all those weeds — enough for 12 piles of waste along Oak Avenue — Best and his helpers laid down weed block in areas bordering the greenhouse and elsewhere, reorganized materials and built a whole new shed.
Then there was the task of clearing out all the accumulated manure — the biggest, nastiest job of all.
Best was particularly grateful to a couple of friends and cousin Anthony Best, who helped out with that.
“Manure is really heavy,” he noted.
The hard labor started on the last Friday in July, and Best put three straight days into the job — helped out the first day by a dozen fellow Scouts and friends, about half of them the following day and just a few diehards on day three, when the shed was built.
“I’m pretty happy with the way it turned out,” Best said, though he wishes he could have gotten the weeds growing out of the concrete area.
“Two or three of the tallest, strongest guys I know were pulling on them and they wouldn’t budge,” Best said. “And we can’t use weed killer.”
Other than that, he’s happy with the project, though.
And Michel is thrilled.
“David did a wonderful job of cleaning, organizing and building a shed at the farm,” she said.
The weed block, Michel said, “will save so much time and labor at the farm” and the new shed will provide additional space to store plant and greenhouse materials.
“I am very thankful, happy and proud of the work David did,” she added. “His Eagle Scout project will benefit the students at Davis High for many years. David rocks!”
However, the work isn’t entirely over — as a student in Michel’s class, Best expects he’ll be “working on it all year.”
And he’ll be continuing with Scouts.
“I’ve gotten a lot out of Scouts,” he said. “I’ve made a lot of friends.”
And this project taught him a thing or two.
“I learned how to build a shed,” he laughed. “And also learned how hard it is to organize and complete a service project.”
And Davis High students and staff will benefit for years to come.
— Reach Anne Ternus-Bellamy at [email protected] or 530-747-8051. Follow her on Twitter at @ATernusBellamy