By Dylan Homoya
The Discovery Park outside of Mount Daniel Elementary got a face-lift last Saturday making it safer, more accessible and appealing to the eye.
The restoration project was spearheaded by Boy Scout Misha Somogyi, 15, in order to complete his requirements to become an Eagle Scout. Somogyi, along with other scouts under his lead, spent the day clearing out natural debris and trash, making the path more visible and handicap accessible. The project will not only help all of the school’s 346 students, but also the neighbors of the school who frequent the trail.
While clearing the trail is a major help to the school, one of the biggest changes is making it accessible to all students. Prior to the project, there was no way for students or community members who had physical handicaps to access the area. With a ramp installed and the brush cleared, it is much easier for all people to view and learn about nature.
Along with making it so that students can access the trail easier, the trail was also made more visible. Somogyi used logs found in the area to create a border along the trails so that it is clear where the trails begin and ends. Using the surrounds to help create this boarder made sure to keep the natural feel to the area. Somogyi also made sure that low points on the trails were brought up to level with gravel, making it an easier path to walk on and prevent rain water from creating puddles.
Restoration of the trail was part of Somogyi’s transition to Eagle Scout. Part of that progression involves leading a team in the completion of a community project.
The project was coordinated with the scouts by Mila Fesler, who saw the need to restore the area in order to bring it up to the Americans with Disabilities standards and get more of the students in nature.
“I like the nature and doing conversation projects, so I dove at the idea,” Somogyi said.
The scouts set a budget of $500, but Fesler was able to obtain a $1,000 grant from the Falls Church Education Foundation. These “super grants” are awarded to help bring a school up to the next level in areas where traditional funding is either non-existent or is limited. Since the Eagle Scout project would be helping a large number of students, along with special population students, the grant was awarded.
Somogyi used special coupons available to Boy Scouts at Home Depot to get all of the project necessities for under the budget. As time goes on, the remainder of the money will be used for upkeep and further restoration of the area with some cash stowed away in case more changes are needed to the site.