An Oldsmar Boy Scout was recently honored by the Pinellas-Anclote River Basin Board for his work on a project at the Brooker Creek Preserve.
Mark Brandon of Troop 64 of Oldsmar designed and created self-guided tour material for one of the nature trails in the preserve. Mark found out about the need for trail markers at Brooker Creek through his mom, Sue Brandon, who volunteers at the Preserve. Mark is a Life Scout, one step below an Eagle Scout, and the project was a perfect fit.
“One of the requirements of becoming an Eagle Scout is to organize a group project that shows leadership skills,” said Sue.
Mark’s design called for posting 4’x4’ numbered signs along the 1.75-mile hiking trail. Each sign contains educational information about the natural environment and the creatures living on the property. He and his troop built and erected the signs. Visitors can also pick up a brochure with information that corresponds to each numbered station at the trail head.
“Before Mark’s project the existing trail provided a passive recreation use for the public. As a result of his hard work and vision, a valuable educational component has been introduced,” says Jeanne Johnson, volunteer coordinator of the Pinellas County Department of Environmental Management.
Brandon’s project was part of Pinellas County’s volunteer program that uses volunteers to help manage the land.
Mark’s uncle helped him with some of the preparation work. After several scout meetings of sanding and painting and finishing the signs, the troop posted them along the trail. “I think we had about 25 to 30 scouts work on it,” says Sue.
Mark also worked with Johnson and Barbara Hoffman on creating the new brochure for the trail. Hoffman is a volunteer with the “Friends of Brooker Creek Preserve.” The three updated an older brochure that had been in use and incorporated new information about natural features along the trail route that they wanted to highlight.
“Working on the brochure was almost as big a project as working on the trail,” said Sue.
Brooker Creek Preserve is made up of approximately 7,000 miles of property in Pinellas County. The District and the county own the preserve. The Pinellas County Department of Environmental Management manages the water and land resources and public use on the property. Brandon’s project was part of Pinellas County’s volunteer program that uses volunteers to help manage the land.
The “Friends of Brooker Creek Preserve” donated funds to support Brandon’s project.