Riverside senior helps create community garden for Eagle Scout project

Project was completed by Rodriguez and a group of volunteers

Boy Scout, Jacob Rodriguez, poses for a photo with his newly constructed community garden. The garden project helped him earn the rank of Eagle Scout.

Residents of Riverside will have noticed a new addition to the area in the form of a community garden, an effort spearheaded by Riverside High School rising senior Jacob Rodriguez.

Rodriguez, a Boy Scout, has been working tirelessly over the past few months to complete his final project in order to reach the rank of Eagle Scout, the highest rank attainable within the Boy Scouts of America program.

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The project began back in the spring after Riverside Township Committee member Michelle Weaver suggested the idea of a community garden for the area.

“She was the one who brought up the community garden and I immediately jumped on board and thought it was a good idea,” Rodriguez said. “After filling out the proper paperwork, I presented the idea to the township, who approved it. I then went to the adult leaders of my Boy Scout troop, who approved it as well.”

From there, he and his family, along with a number of students and local volunteers, got to work on constructing the garden. 

An important saying within Boy Scouts is to leave no trace wherever one goes, something especially important on camping trips and any outdoor activities. 

However, leaving a bigger impact is that much more important, which is exactly what this community garden aims to do, providing those in the area who need food with freshly grown produce.

“This is a community garden where if you need something, please come in and take what you need,” Jacob’s mother, Desiree, said. “The idea of it was not just to feed the community with fresh vegetables, but to unite the community as well.”

“It’s crazy,” Rodriguez said. “I helped out before with many Eagle Scout projects and I always thought to myself, ‘I hope that’s me someday.’ I started out in first grade with Cub Scouts. I’ve gone through every single step. It’s a lot. It was crazy, exhilarating, and a little melancholy because by September/October, my scouting career is going to be done.”

While Rodriguez’s scouting career is coming to a close soon, he will forever have the garden to look on as a reminder of how he was able to benefit and positively impact others.

 

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