Girl Scout Troop 3890 lends a hand at Petal dog park

By HASKEL BURNS,

After an EF-3 tornado swept through Petal and east Hattiesburg in January 2017, the City of Petal Dog Park was left bare, with all of its amenities – including exercise equipment and an obstacle course – wiped away by the storm.

After the process of restoring the park was taking a little too long, Girl Scout Troop 3890 stepped in and adopted the park, and has worked since then to bring it back to pre-storm conditions.

To that end, members of the troop – under the supervision of troop leaders Esther Hartfield, Melissa Brady and Leah Hartfield – spent Monday evening beginning sprucing-up efforts by planting four fruit trees and three rosebushes at the park, as well as bringing in kiddie pools with drinking water for the dogs.

“So the city takes care of the lawn for us, and the fencing and the trash,” Esther Hartfield said. “But we’re coming in here to beautify it and teach the girls responsibility.

“So the girls voted on wanting to have fruit-bearing trees out here. They’re pet-safe … and they wanted the owners out here to be able to have something to eat. So they’ll be able to pick fruit off the trees and eat.”

The girls also painted a donated Little Free Library, a box of books designed for anyone to stop by and pick up a book or two and drop another off to share. The troop installed the post for the box Monday, and will come back in a couple of weeks to install the library on the post.

“We’re the first Girl Scout troop to get a free library,” Brady said. “We were chosen nationwide. Anyone can purchase them, but we received this one for free.”

Girl Scout Troop 3890, which is made up of girls from kindergarten through seventh grade, will use the dog park renovation as their scout project throughout high school.

“For the ‘Take Action Project,’ they find a need in their community and they take action to meet that need,” Brady said. “The Daisies are our smallest girls that have worked toward the ‘Take Action Project’ – typically kindergarten and first grade.

“So that’s how they earn badges and awards as they go through the Girl Scout ladder. The bigger girls have what is called Bronze, Silver and Gold Awards – Gold would be equivalent to the Eagle Scouts. So we’re starting on our Bronze Award. And this is the last year we’ll have Daisies, unless we get some Daisies next year, so our Daisies will be moving up to Brownies with this being their project.”

Among the Girls Scouts helping out at the park Monday were third-grader Mary Murphy Brady and first-grader Cynthia Davis.

“It’s my Girl Scout troop, and I like helping out with dogs,” Mary Murphy Brady said. “I helped with the pear trees and then helped paint the Little Free Library.”

Davis said she also had fun and enjoyed helping at the park.

“I like to help the dogs have more room and have more space,” she said. 

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