Highlands Boys Scout Troop 207 spent a warm-Saturday afternoon at the end of April planting azaleas at McKinney Meadow in Cashiers. Troop Leader Tom Herbert said the scouts are happy to contribute to their community and get their hands dirty in the process.
“These guys like working outdoors,” said Herbert. “And scouting teaches them so many aspects of being a responsible adult. Like their own personal development, they can come back as adults and see how this park has developed and appreciate being a part of that.”
McKinney Meadow is approx. 2-acres managed by the Highlands-Cashiers Land Trust just south of the crossroads on Hwy 107 and Cashiers School Road. It’s an official stop along the Butterfly Highway, a statewide initiative to restore native pollinator habitats. HCLT Executive Director Gary Wein said McKinney is being managed as a wildflower meadow and with time and proper management, will be a cascading field of color.
Before that color can bloom, Scouts (and their parents) had to reduce the amount of turf grass using a torch to make room for recently planted seeds by The Boys and Girls Club of the Plateau.
“We had to torch some of the grass and plants some seeds,” said Wein. “We’re managing this in patches. If we don’t do anything, this will become forest. We want to keep herbaceous stuff and not the woody stuff.”
Weeks before Troop 207 visited the meadow, BGCP planted milkweed seeds and covered the newly planted patches with screens to keep the birds away while they took root. Read the original article on BGCP planting seeds at McKinney Meadow HERE.
Highlands Scout Connor Thorske said he didn’t mind the labor or spending the day improving the meadow by planting azaleas, plants that were relocated because of planned developments at High Hampton Resort.
“It’s pretty fun so far,” he said. “Plus, it’s good for the community to have something like this.”
Highlands Scout Brent Sleight what they are doing at the Meadow will help everyone, including future generations.
“It’s good because we’re helping make things pretty,” said Sleight. “It will be cool when I come back here in the future.”
HCLT Stewardship Coordinator Kyle Pursel and Americorps Member Grace McCants were on hand with Wein and the BS Troop. Scout Peyton Narin said he had a good time planting shrubs that are expected to grow 7-8 feet high.
“I think it’s cool because you see the effect you have on the area when we come back in the future,” said Narin. “And she (McCants) said it helps the bugs and the bees, so that’s good. Plus, we got to get outside.”