Brush and briars had become a thorn in the side of Potomac Fish and Game Club in Williamsport.
Dead trees and invasive species met with pavement on the club’s property along Falling Waters Road. Deer would emerge from the thicket without warning, getting killed or injured, and damaging vehicles in the process. Trees and large branches would fall on power lines.
And, it just didn’t look very nice.
When the club’s board of directors decided to do something about the mess, they looked to area Boy Scouts for help.
Boy Scout Troop 23 of Funkstown and Troop 4 of Hagerstown, along with Cub Scout Pack 23 of Funkstown, worked throughout the day Saturday to improve the site.
Troop 23 Scoutmaster Rich Gaver said Funkstown Mayor Paul N. Crampton Jr., who is a member of the club, approached him about help planting new trees.
“I said we needed a good community-service project,” Gaver said. “When he told me it was 1,600 trees, I told him we were gonna need some help.”
Gaver contacted the other groups, both of which jumped on board. In return for help with the trees, the club offered a place for the Scouts to camp overnight, and provided lunch and dinner.
The club had cleared the land and planted four varieties of evergreens several yards from the road in previous days. The Scouts were tasked with staking and tubing the shoots along about a three-quarter mile area.
Gaver said the project would increase the Scouts’ understanding of ecology and “the balance of nature.”
About 30 Scouts and parents participated in the project.
Dustin Worton, 12, of Hagerstown, swatted gnats as he pounded a stake in the ground.
“I’m putting the sleeves on to keep the seedlings safe from deer that eat them, then zip-tying the sleeves to the posts,” he said.
Ryan Varron, 15, of Hagerstown, said planting new trees “helps the environment.”
“More trees get you less carbon in the air and more oxygen,” Ryan said.
Corbin Hensley, 13, of Clear Spring, said he liked the idea of helping the club.
“I like being outside instead of inside playing PlayStation. It’s good for our health since we do hard labor,” he said. “I just try to get pumped up and get as much done as possible.”
Terry Toms, a member of the fish and game club’s board of directors, said the club plans to plant grass between the treeline and the road.
The enhanced landscape will improve safety, “plus, it’ll dress up much nicer,” Toms said.
He said the collaboration between the club and the Scouts was “absolutely wonderful.”
“We have a bunch of old guys down here. If we didn’t have these kids, these old men would be pooped,” Toms said. “By golly, the kids come down here today, swung some hammers and got it done.”