Eagle Scout adds orchard at Greenmont

VIENNA -An elementary school alumnus is working to install a fruit orchard for his Eagle Scout project.

Andrew Mommessin and a group of volunteers are spending the weekend turning about 2,300 square feet of green space behind Greenmont Elementary School into a fruit orchard as part of its outdoor classroom.

“This is not just a beautification project, instead an opportunity to provide real-life experiences for students with hands-on science for years to come,” said Greenmont Principal Brett Ubbens.

The outdoor classroom has been an ongoing project. It includes a greenhouse, flowers and trees.

Mommessin, a sophomore at Parkersburg High School, said when he attended Greenmont the outdoor classrooms consisted of just two stone picnic tables.

“There’s a chance to make it better. Now there’s stuff to do out here,” he said.

Through the efforts of Mary Ellen Manzo, Ubbens said officials were able to obtain a $3,000 grant from the Oakland Foundation, as well as utilize school and PTA funds to pay for the project.

A sizable donation of the trees is being made by Scot’s Landscaping, as well as help from Grant’s Rental with the sod cutter, Ubbens said.

Mommessin requested eight fruit trees. He got 15, primarily apple and cherry, for the project.

Mommessin, joined by friends, family and members of his Boy Scout troop, cleared sod and will plant about eight trees, along with landscape fabric and pea gravel. The remaining trees will be planted around the school.

Andrew Waters completed an Eagle Scout project last year renovating the classroom’s raised planting beds.

Waters, along with members of his troop, raised planting beds for students to use for years to come. This is in addition to the large pavilion and greenhouse.

“So much of what kids learn in school is through books,” Ubbens said. “We want a lot of hands-on science for kids to show them how to grow things.”

Ubbens said the next step is to rework the flower beds in front the school; to install flowers and plants to attract bees and butterflies. Officials will install birdhouses around the school, plant corn and sunflowers.

“We are trying as much as we can to bring nature back to the school,” he said. “Something kids will remember for a long time.”