On June 22, junior at Lawrence High School and member of Boy Scout Troop 183 Garrett Falk was recognized as an Eagle Scout at his Court of Honor ceremony at the American Legion Post 414 Banquet Hall in Lawrenceville.
The Court of Honor ceremony formally acknowledged Falk’s final project, which was created for the Lawrence Nature Center and surrounding Drexel Woods.
Aside from the final project, Falk was required to complete a variety of other things as a Boy Scout before he was eligible to obtain his ranking as an Eagle Scout and celebrate it with the traditional Court of Honor ceremony.
First, Falk had to obtain 21 merit badges out of the 100 available merit badges Boy Scouts can acquire, which range from archaeology to space exploration. After he met the criteria for the merit badges, Falk had to meet with his Scoutmaster and devise a plan for his final project.
Once his final project was chosen, Falk had to participate in a “board of review,” where he had to go in front of a board of adults to ultimately discuss what he’s done as a Boy Scout. Once Falk completed his review, he officially became an Eagle Scout.
Although the Court of Honor ceremony is optional, most Eagle Scouts hold them, since they are important in the Scouting world.
Since Falk wanted to conduct his project in Lawrence, he contacted the Department of Recreation, which suggested the Lawrence Nature Center. After he decided the location of his project, community liaison and grounds keeper for the Lawrence Nature Center Teresita Bastides-Heron offered him several ideas for projects.
Ultimately, Falk decided to construct a fence to enclose the Nature Center’s butterfly garden and refurbish a couple of other items in the garden along with four other Scouts from his troop on April 7.
“Prior to my project, the Butterfly Garden at the center was exposed to deer, foot traffic, as well as walkers and joggers using the nearby trails,” Falk said. “Under my leadership, our troop built a split rail fence, which enclosed the garden, built a bench placed inside of the garden for instructors to use when teaching children or people on tours, and built a protected sign with information to identify butterflies and caterpillars.”
Falk explained how he chose to focus his project on a subject that held significant meaning to himself as well as the Lawrence Nature Center.
“I really liked this project because it was what my friend, Mary Jane Trimmer, had been hoping would be done at the center for quite some time,” he said. “I came to know Mary Jane as a member of our church congregation. Though she was many years my senior, many others and I enjoyed her tart sense of humor and love for life and nature. She was a great to support to our Scout troop and all of the youth.”
Trimmer, who died from cancer a couple of years ago, was an avid participant and donor to the Lawrence Nature Center.
“She was not only a wonderful friend and neighbor of the nature center, but was an active member of our congregation, support to our Scout troop, and personal friend,” Falk said.
In memory of Trimmer, Falk made a plaque that is attached on the new fence of the garden that reads, “In Memory of Mary Jane Trimmer, Eagle Project 2012, Troop 183, Constructed by Garrett Falk.”
In order to fund his project, Falk and his troop held a fundraising pasta dinner on Feb. 24 at the American Legion post 414 Banquet Hall. Around 150 people attended the fundraiser, including Falk’s troop.
Aside from all of the hard work that Falk and his troop members put into planning, advertising and executing the fundraising dinner, Falk described the one individual who helped make the fundraiser unique.
“A major factor in the dinner’s success was due to the help of Jeff Shehab,” Falk said. “He is a professional chef and the Cubmaster of the younger Scouts in our congregation. He walked me through all of the food related details, guided me in what to do, answered all of my questions, and showed me how to run a big dinner at the annual Blue and Gold Banquet that he did for the Cub Scouts. He also took the time to make his special pasta sauce for my fundraiser dinner that so many people thoroughly enjoyed.”
Aside from the people who attended the pasta dinner, Falk also obtained a portion of his funds from generous individual donations.
“I was able to raise about $1,800 in total,” he said. “This includes money donated by many individuals that wanted to support the project but were unable to attend the pasta dinner. I was able to fund my entire project with this money.”
Falk explained how the process – the planning and construction of the project as well as the advertising, shopping, and planning for the fundraising dinner – took nearly 350 hours of work.
Overall, Falk’s project was a complete success since people have been incredibly receptive of his new additions to the Lawrence Nature Center and his dedication to Trimmer.
“People were very generous and incredibly supportive of the project and the Scouts,” he said. “It was very humbling to see so much community support to Scouting and to the nature center. I’ve tried to do them proud with the finished project.”