By Dean Vaglia
Leader Staff Writer
A gaggle of Girl Scouts came out to clean up the Polly Ann Trail on the morning of Saturday, April 30.
Starting from Koenig Sand and Gravel along Lakeville Rd, an estimated over 110 scouts and chaperones representing troops from Clarkston, Oxford, Ortonville, Lake Orion and Rochester Hills picked up litter, planted trees and improved about a mile of the trail.
The event began with a color guard and moment of silence commemorating victims of the Nov. 30 shooting at Oxford High School. During the opening ceremony Jaydee Moreau, service unit manager and trainer for the Girl Scouts of Southeastern Michigan, laid out the plans for the day.
The two trees planted would be in honor of shooting victims, with a fruit-bearing pawpaw tree representing hope while a red maple symbolizes “the red phoenix.”
“Just like the mythical phoenix, Oxford will rise from the ashes of this tragedy,” Moreau said on April 30.
The scouts then broke into groups to paint rocks in the OHS colors of yellow and blue before moving west to the tree planting location. The rocks were used to decorate the base of the trees after the scouts planted them.
On the way to the planting spot, the scouts took to picking up assorted litter along Lakeville Rd. and spread bags of flower seeds along the way. Most litter came in the form of waste dumped by passing cars, though some larger items included car parts.
Saturday’s event was not the first time Girl Scouts have helped clean up and improve the Polly Ann Trail. A similar cleanup event occurred in 2019 with intentions of becoming an annual event, albeit those plans were put on hold due to COVID-19 precautions.
“The first year we did it, back in 2019, we had about 50 [participants],” Moreau said.
Girl Scouts have helped the Polly Ann Trail outside of the two cleanup events, with some scouts helping out the trail as part of earning their Gold Award.
“Last fall we did dog waste bin bags,” Linda Moran, Polly Ann Trail manager, said. “We did trash pickup … and we planted about 25 maple trees that were donated to the trail along Glaspie [St.] headed toward State St. This is just kind of an ongoing project to reforest the trail. We have been taking a lot of invasive species along the trail so it is kinda naked, but we are trying to fill it back up with good stuff.”
The tree planting also helps out with the Girl Scouts of America’s Tree Promise, while challenges scouts to help plant 5 million trees by 2026. Scouts that took part in the April 30 event qualify for the Tree Promise patch.
By Dean Vaglia