Girls spruce up area near library

Published 8:57 pm Friday, July 3, 2009

Most high-schoolers wouldn’t think twice about a weedy patch of land near a public building.

But when Senior Girl Scouts Natalie Undeland and Michelle Martin, from Troop 5563, began thinking about what community service project they could complete for a Plant Life merit badge, they immediately thought of the Chuckatuck branch of the Suffolk Public Library system.

Natalie, a Nansemond-Suffolk Academy student, and Michelle, a King’s Fork High School student, both 16, spent hours recently revamping a patch of land near the tiny library’s handicapped entrance. When they approached the Chuckatuck librarian, Chinell Sanders, about the project, she was more than happy to allow them to use it for their merit badge, said Brenda Undeland, Natalie’s mother.

“I went to offer the services of the girls for a community project,” Undeland said. “She said, ‘I know the perfect piece of land.’”

The two girls began by weeding the overgrown patch of land next to the library. They then put down mulch, planted flowers and bushes, secured a donation of a bench made from recycled plastic and placed some stepping stones in the space.

“We did get a badge for it, but part of it is just for beautifying the community,” Natalie said. “One of the things we’re thinking of doing is cleaning more around the library, planting some more flowers around and beautifying it more for a possible idea for the Gold Award project.”

The Gold Award is the highest award a Girl Scout can receive. To receive it, a girl must plan and execute a community service project.

Michelle Martin said the library looks more attractive now.

“The outside of the library, it didn’t really grab your attention,” she said of the site prior to the girls’ project. “It’s just about beautifying Chuckatuck, because not many people know about it.”

The girls received donations of materials and supplies from Kelly’s Nursery and Greenhouse, Bennett’s Creek Nursery and Saunders Lumber and Supply. In addition, the bench was donated by the Suffolk Clean Community Commission. The local Boy Scout troop also has been working on improving other areas around the library.

“I think it looks a lot better,” Michelle said. “I’m just glad we could do it. It looks really good now.”