Back in February and March of 2020 when the weather was cool and crisp, and just before COVID-19 impacted and limited our larger in-person scouting activities, Brendan Martin Firvida, a Life Scout with Scouts BSA Troop 98 chartered by St. Anthony of Padua Church in the Brookland neighborhood of Washington, DC, saw his Eagle Scout Service Project come to fruition on the grounds of the The Franciscan Monastery of the Holy Land, also located in Brookland.
Months of planning with the Franciscan Monastery Garden Guild (FMGG) came together over two weekends of work by Scouts and volunteers as they removed invasive species from the tree perimeter of the rear grounds of the Monastery.
“Brendan’s project was essential to keep the perimeter trees healthy,” noted Lou Maroulis, FMGG CEO. “By completing this project during the late winter months, the amount of debris removal was significantly reduced due to the normal winter “die-back” of invasive plants. Congratulations and thanks to Brendan and Troop 98 for the successful completion of this project of manually removing invasive plants which complements the Franciscan Monastery’s ecosystem of urban farm, orchard, apiary, and meadow.”
Major benefits of the removal of the invasive vines and surrounding weed-tree saplings allows the mature trees within the tree perimeter to grow without competition by the invasive plants and vines. This work also improved the air flow and facilitated ongoing maintenance which are extremely beneficial for these trees, benefits that were enjoyed by the trees this entire summer without having to battle invasive species.
The Franciscan Monastery Garden Guild is staffed entirely by volunteers, and the gardens provide between 10,000 to 11,000 pounds of produce a year for those in need. Since 2014, over 24 tons of vegetable produce that is grown and harvested has been donated to food pantries of neighborhood parishes and food banks in the District of Columbia.
Congratulations to Brendan on your hard work, and completing this very difficult step on your trek to Eagle, and a special thank you to all of the volunteers, scouts and scouters of Troop 98, and the Franciscan Monastery Garden Guild!