2006-11-16 / News

Town Forest acquires new signs through Eagle Scout project

By Michaela Kennedy

Boy Scouts, from left, Brian Volpe, John Chase, Andrew Matley and Kyle Wright put up interpretive signage in the town forest near the Melrose Avenue School. Photo by Michaela Kennedy Boy Scouts, from left, Brian Volpe, John Chase, Andrew Matley and Kyle Wright put up interpretive signage in the town forest near the Melrose Avenue School. Photo by Michaela Kennedy Boy Scout leader and Eagle Scout candidate Brian Volpe spent last Sunday with a crew of helpers putting the finishing touches on three roofed signs for the Town Forest. Volpe, 14, expects to have the signs completely installed at the entrances to the newly planted forest by next week.

Up against storms and rain on the weekends, the Scouts have been working under cover of Volpe's garage to complete the project. "My mom wants her garage back," Volpe said with a smile. Other Scouts on the scene - Andrew Matley, John Chase and Kyle Wright - lent a hand in cutting, drilling, and hammering the nearly 7-foot-tall construction pieces. In between raindrops, the Scouts maneuvered the first completed sign outside to the pickup truck standing by for loading.

Volpe discovered the idea to create signs for the new forest at Melrose Avenue School when about 15 Boy Scouts and adults volunteered to help plant 300 trees earlier in the year. "Tree Commissioner Judy DiBello suggested it," said Volpe's father, Troop 1's scoutmaster.

A student at St. Andrew's School in Barrington, Brian Volpe is younger than many of the other Boy Scouts still considering their Eagle Scout service projects. As Volpe looked around the garage at his friends hard at work, he said, "I'll be helping others as much as they've helped me." He noted that Matley was gearing up to tackle the Hull Cove right-of-way improvement project.

Eagle Scout is the highest rank in the Boy Scouts of America, and a Boy Scout may strive for the distinction until he reaches the age of 17 and a half. According to the Narragansett Council BSA, attainment of the rank is a 12-step process that demonstrates a milestone

in Scouting. Service to community, activity in the BSA, and leadership are just a few of the requirements for attaining the award. "There are a number of merit badges that have to be earned to be eligible for the project," Volpe explained.

Volpe admitted that the undertaking has been daunting. "There's been a lot of frustration. We underestimated the cuts of wood and had to order more," Volpe said.

Volpe went on to say he has been "very excited" as the project nears completion. "It's a real sense of accomplishment, because I feel I did something for myself and for the community." Volpe has concentrated on the endeavor for more than two months. Once the three main signs are in place, Volpe will follow up with smaller signs inside the forest that will bear information on 25 different species of trees.

A map of the forest will hang on the sign at the main entrance on Melrose Avenue. Two other signs will stand at the entrances near the Melrose Avenue and Lawn Avenue schools. "One of the science classes will study trees and use the signs to show their work," Volpe said.

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