A group of Medford Girl Scouts and members from the community are hoping to turn Woodford Cedar Run Wildlife Refuge’s newest event into one of its largest fundraisers of the year.
On Sept. 28, numerous runners and walkers will traverse Cedar Run’s trails for the inaugural Hoot, Waddle and Stroll 5K Trail Run and One Mile Walk.
The event was conceived last spring. Event coordinator Katie Gollotto said Cedar Run needed a boost to its fundraising, so she brought the idea of a 5K to Cedar Run.
While Cedar Run officials loved the idea, it was tough trying to organize the event in only a few months. Gollotto said a 5K run typically needs nine to 12 months of planning.
This is where Medford Girl Scout Troop №24348 entered the picture. The troop is playing a huge role in putting on this year’s event, cleaning up and preparing the trails beforehand and helping to run the event on the day.
Jillian Anderson, a Girl Scout cadet and sixth grader at Haines School, said the troop is doing the project to achieve its bronze award. The 5K was an event for which the troop was very interested in volunteering.
“We’re basically hosting it,” Anderson said. “We’re doing all of the trail maintenance, and when the event comes, we’ll been volunteering.”
The project tackles all aspects of the event. Each troop member was given a specific area on which to focus. Every girl has to perform 20 hours to receive the bronze award. Some tasks involve researching animals and plants, while others may be asked to take photos before and during the event.
Anderson’s job has been to raise awareness. She’s been informing fellow students in school about it and has been in charge of promoting the event to the community.
Many members have been involved with cleaning the trails. Anderson emphasized the importance of removing large impediments such as trees so the runners and walkers have a clear path.
“We’ve done a lot of it,” she said. “Last week, we did two days of service and eight hours total.”
The trail maintenance is more than just cleaning up the woods, however. The troop is now trying to make improvements to the existing trail leading up to the event.
“We interviewed some people for some tips on how to make the trail better,” Anderson said. “The next part is putting trail marks to tell people where to go. We need to make sure people don’t go the wrong way.”
The trail work was essential because of the tight timeline. Cedar Run’s trails were not clear and marked for a 5K run.
“We had to actually form the trails, so there was a lot of preliminary work that came into play,” Gollotto said. “We really needed people that could come out and work in numbers.”
The run is a fundraising event for the nonprofit wildlife center. Participants are encouraged to form teams and collect donations. The cost to participate in either the run or walk is $25 until Sept. 24 and $30 after that date. There will also be Kids Fun Challenge activities. The cost to participate in those is $5 per person.
All proceeds from the event go to support Cedar Run and its programs. Peterson said most of the refuge’s money comes from donations.
Gollotto said about 90 runners are registered. Cedar Run is hoping to draw at least 125 runners.
“A lot of people sign up last-minute,” Gollotto said. “We expect a lot of late sign ups because of the start of the school year and people getting into the groove of things.”
Members of Troop No 24348 will be running in the event, while others will be volunteering.
“We’re really excited,” Anderson said. “We hope it goes really we