Eagle Scout enhances primary school greenspace

by Alfred Hood

Eagle Scout Luke Botros successfully transformed the common area at Independence Primary School into a vibrant greenspace.

The former IPS student collaborated with IPS Principal TJ Ebert and PTO President and board of education member Katie Hill to plan and execute the project.

Said Ebert, “While we were brainstorming, we had an Eagle Scout, Luke, who was looking for an Eagle project and reached out to Katie as the IPS president.” 

The Independence Garden Club originally donated the space, which included a water feature, pond and walkway. Botros and his team were careful to preserve as much of the original space as possible throughout the transformation. 

The courtyard was enhanced with the help of a $5,000 grant from Dominion Gas.

“As truly a team effort, we even brought in local environmentalist Jim Matalik, who came in and kind of gave us some suggestions on the rain barrels and utilizing the waterspouts, greenhouse and weathervane,” said Ebert.

Local businesses such as the Kurtz Brothers pitched in by donating fill dirt and equipment, while Botros, his fellow Scouts, and community members worked to clear debris and revamp the pond area.

The Independence Garden Club also returned to provide ongoing care for the plants and flowers, breathing new life into the space.

Hill added, “They also had to pull out a lot of rock and stone because that’s what the base of [the pond] had been. It was a lot of work.” 

Botros and his team also installed a birdfeeder in addition to clearing out overgrown bushes and constructing benches, encouraging students to observe wildlife in the greenspace.

The Scout’s efforts resulted in a transformed common area and students and faculty members now use the greenspace for mindfulness exercises such as yoga. The Independence High School Biology club has also utilized the area for various activities. 

Completed between June and September 2023, the project has created a peaceful and sustainable environment for students. Plans are already in motion to install a garden and complete other eco-friendly activities to further enhance the space. ∞

Photo: Students and faculty have used the greenspace for mindfulness exercises like yoga. High school Biology Club students have also utilized the area. Photo courtesy of Katie Hill.