NEWTOWN >> A new garden is taking root in the courtyard at the Birches at Newtown thanks to the hard work of a Scout from Troop 99 in Newtown.

Brady Ott, a ninth grade student at Council Rock High School North, is overseeing the construction of a memorial garden at the assisted living facility as his Eagle Scout project.

And on Saturday, May 22 he had a full crew of about 20 volunteer workers, including Scouts from his troop and friends from school, installing benches, moving soil into place and preparing the area for plantings.

“I could not have done this without their help,” he said. “They have all worked really, really hard today.”

Ott is building the garden in memory of his grandmother, Mary Foley, who lived at the Birches for about four years until she passed away several years ago.

“When she was here the residents and the staff were very, very kind to her,” said Ott. “We had a great experience here, so I just thought it would be nice to give something back to the Birches.”

Ott began planning the project months ago, enlisting the help of landscape architect Peg Prizer, of the Prizer Design Group in Doylestown, who has helped with the design, measurements and the types of plants to use.

Together they selected an array of plantings, including magnolia trees, hydrangea bushes and a lot of shrubs and flowers to add color and texture in and around the facility’s Courtyard.

“We would always meet her here (the Courtyard),” said Ott of his grandmother. “It’s just a great area, this courtyard, but nothing was really here other than the gazebo,” he said. “We laid out all these flower beds. We had soil delivered. And tomorrow we’re going to plant everything.”

In addition to the new plantings and landscaping, Ott has installed several new benches and will be adding a large rock mounted with a bronze plaque honoring the residents of the Birches. He plans on dedicating the plaque and the garden sometime next month.

“All the plants and trees are donated. Most of the soil is donated. And the rock and the plaque are donated,” said Ott, crediting Delaware Quarries for donating the rock, Clearview Nursery for donations of trees and plants, Sparks Industries for the topsoil and stone and Peg Prizer for her services.

The project caught the attention of US Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick and State Senator Steve Santarsiero who were at the Birches to honor a World War II veteran and noticed all the activity taking place.

Fitzpatrick, himself an Eagle Scout, listened as Ott described his project. The Congressman then joined Santarsiero for a group photo with Ott and his work crew.

“That was really cool,” said Ott.

Ott, a Life Scout, is the assistant senior patrol leader for his troop. He has also earned all the required merit badges for Eagle along with some fun ones like fishing, rifle and archery.

Once his project is complete he will go before an Eagle Board of View. He’s hoping to have all his Eagle requirements completed by the end of the summer.

Brady is the son of Greg and Brenda Ott of Upper Makefield.

Eagle Scoutis the highest achievementor rank attainable in the Scouts BSAprogram. Since its inception in 1911, only four percent of Scouts have earned the rank after a lengthy review process. The Eagle Scout rank has been earned by more than 2.5 million youth

Requirements include earning at least 21 merit badges. The Eagle Scout must demonstrate Scout Spirit, an ideal attitude based upon the Scout Oath and Law, service, and leadership. This includes an extensive service project that the Scout plans, organizes, leads, and manages. Eagle Scouts are awarded with the Eagle Scout Badge, a symbol of a young man or young woman who is physically fit, a good citizen and exhibits good personal character.

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