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Boy Scouts celebrate 100 years with tree planting

Fourteen-year-old John Sammet learned Saturday that removing tree roots left over from an old, dead tree can be a headache and not much fun at all.

But once the root is gone, there’s a nice place to put a new tree.

And that’s just what he and fellow members of Boy Scout Troop 106 did Saturday morning. And thanks to them, the city of Ironton has 14 new additions to its downtown landscape.

The scouts spent Saturday morning planting 14 Cleveland pear trees in the tree lawns on and near South Third and Vernon streets near the Ironton City Center.

Scoutmaster Dave Lucas said the idea for the trees sprouted from a seedling of an idea pitched by the national organization.

The BSA asked troops to plant one tree in honor of the 100th birthday of the scouting body. Troop 106 initially opted to not only plant one tree, but 10, Then the idea grew to 14 when some local organizations purchased additional trees for the scouts to plant. The tree planting, Lucas said, is also a nod to Earth Day, which was Thursday.

The new additions were added to spaces where old trees had died.

Lucas said the troop had first planned to plant Bradford pear trees but Wayne National Forest officials advised the Cleveland Pear was more suited to the city landscape as it tends to be more compact than other trees. It is also a hardy tree that can better withstand urban toxins of automobile emissions.

The scouts got a personal commendation from Ironton City Councilman Dave Frazier.

“On behalf of the mayor and city council, I appreciate you being here,” Frazier said. “I’m chairman of the parks and recreation committee. You did a swell job.”

Ten-year-old Wyatt Boggs said, as he worked, he got praise from passersby as well.

“People would stop and ask what we were doing and I told them we were Troop 106 and we were planting trees. It made me feel better that people stopped to ask. A lot of them said ‘thanks,’” Boggs said.

The tree planting was one of the troop’s numerous gifts to the community.

“It’s a good community project. It helps the city, and it helps the planet be healthier,” 15-year-old Chris Seidel said.

It was also a learning experience.

“I didn’t know you have to peel some of the root back to make it grow faster,” 10-year-old Adam Allen said. He does now, which is a good thing, as the scouts are likely to return in future years, with shovels and young trees in hand, filling in other patches of city landscape with something green.

“We’re thinking of making this an annual event,” Lucas said.

The scouts will make a return visit next month and add mulch to the tree cubicles as part of the countywide cleanup day activities.