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Caroline Murray/Recorder staff Broadalbin-Perth sophomore and Troop 5051 Boy Scout Andrew Meashaw stands Monday in front of the nature trails he recently restored for an Eagle Scout project.

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Scout hits the trail to benefit his community

Tuesday, June 17, 2014 - Updated: 10:23 AM

By CAROLINE MURRAY

caroline.murray@recordernews.com

BROADALBIN -- Fifteen-year-old Andrew Meashaw knew he had his work cut out for him when he decided to restore the hiking trails behind Broadalbin-Perth High School for his Eagle Scout project.

The trails -- once run down with dead trees, muddy holes and piles of garbage -- are now complete with two clear pathways, five new bridges, and two maps at either end.

Since last spring, Meashaw raised $2,000, led a team of 60 volunteers, and worked a total of 1,000 hours to complete the work.

"It was a lot of work. It took a lot of manpower, and I am pretty sure none of my friends want to be landscapers anymore," he said.

Meashaw is finishing up his sophomore year in high school, and is a scout in Broadalbin's Troop 5051.

He said he jumped at the opportunity to fix the dilapidated trails last year, while in search of a community service assignment.

He needed to complete a volunteer project to become an Eagle Scout, and his guidance counselor suggested restoring the school's nature trails.

The trails, behind the high school's Patriot and baseball fields, were out of commission for several years. Meashaw said they were only utilized by The Learning Community's first-grade class for science projects.

The pathways lacked signs marking where they begin and end. Meashaw said the school's cross country team could no longer run on the path as in years past.

After surveying the area last spring, Meashaw began organizing the project.

He said local businesses lent him heavy equipment to cut down obtrusive trees, and he used wood chippers to mulch them.

Volunteers consisting of friends and family members helped wheelbarrow branches and trees to clear the paths.

And, local Cub Scout Troop 51 created more than 20 bird houses, which hang on trees throughout the grounds.

Meashaw said his grandfather, a retired National Grid engineer, helped him construct the support beams for the bridges.

In addition to the bridges, Meashaw also built benches for people to rest on, trail markers to coincide with maps he made, and he dug an irrigation system for excess water.

He said the entire renovation took eight full work days to complete -- four days in the fall, and four in the spring.

He said nine years of experience in the scouts helped him facilitate the project.

"I've learned outdoor skills, how to help people, and leadership," Meashaw said. "It helped me grow as a person."

He hopes to apply these same skills in college, where he wants to study environmental science.

He was dressed head-to-toe in Boy Scout gear Monday as he showed off the new trails to members of the district's board of education during its monthly meeting.

Superintendent Stephen Tomlinson was sporting a smile as he observed the new course.

Tomlinson said maintaining the grounds is important for the school, and he would like to have the school's Key Club expand the trail even further.

"Andrew put so much of his heart and soul into this project," Tomlinson said. "Giving back is what this is all about."

His mother, Kristin Meashaw, said they added final touches to the trail on Father's Day.

She said her son is modest, but really went above and beyond the scout's community service requirements to complete the trails.

"He's a great kid," Kristin Meashaw said. "Very ambitious."

Andrew Meashaw still has to present the project to the official Eagle Scout board. If all goes well, he will be an official Eagle Scout by the fall.

     

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