Boy Scouts and seed picking at Sand Ridge Prairie

Derek Hartness of Oregon, Ill., and the newly treeless plot at Sand Ridge Prairie. (Photo by Dr. Sonia Vogl)

Staff Report

OREGON, Ill. — Saturday, Sept. 22, was a busy day at Sand Ridge Prairie. Russell and Rachel Brunner, Bob and Sherry Piros and Sonia Vogl picked seeds, and Bob Vogl helped the Boy Scouts move overgrown Scotch pine.

Seed picking was slow; removing trees was fast. With the help of two other scouts who are also going for Eagle, his father, grandfather, uncles and friends, Derek Hartness of Oregon, Ill., worked toward his Eagle Scout badge at the site owned by the Prairie Preservation Society of Ogle County. Hartness planned the project, organized the crew and directed the work. His goal of removing 250 overgrown trees was met before lunch.

Scoutmaster Ray Gruber of Troop 52 suggested the project, and since it was conveniently close, there was no question this would be it. Hartness feels that the site will look “really nice” when work has been completed. He will recommend this as a project for other Scouts who are going for Eagle.

The crew was in good spirits as they broke for a delicious lunch. One commented that they “just couldn’t stop cutting them down.” Another observed that “chain saws make a lot of work” and that “the old guys are going to be sore.” But all were exhilarated by good physical work that accomplished ambitious goals on a beautiful fall day. They spoke excitedly about how far they made inroads into the trees.

Scout team hauling trees at Sand Ridge Prairie. (Photo by Dr. Sonia Vogl)

They are planning the next stage of the project: getting a wood chipper to prepare the trees for trails in the Boy Scout camp.

Hartness plans to return and to bring his parents to Sand Ridge for the Christmas tree sale.

From the Sept. 26-Oct. 2, 2012, issue

Enjoy The Rock River Times? Help spread the word!