Forestry Stewardship

On December 30, 2009, 85 Boy Scouts and their leaders braved the cold and drizzle to establish the East Texas Area Council’s “Centennial Forest” at George W. Pirtle Scout Reservation as a part of the 2009 Merit Badge University program. Frank B. Shockley, Certified Forester, BSF, MBA is the East Texas Area Council’s Council Forester. He led the activity and trained the Scouts in tree planting techniques, commented, “What better way to celebrate 100 years of Scouting in the United States than to plant a forest!”

After Hurricane Ike damaged parts of the camp’s forest in September of 2008, 16 acres of forest were harvested to salvage broken and uprooted trees.  That site was prepared for planting in October 2009 and a small part of the area was mulched to make it easier for Scouts to plant seedlings. 

The ETAC Forest Stewardship Committee suggested planting the new forest in honor of Scouting’s centennial.  The idea was approved by the East Texas Area Council and eagerly accepted by leaders and staff of the 2009 Merit Badge University who included the tree planting in Environmental Science Merit Badge and the Leadership Training Program.  By 9:00 am of planting day Scouts and their leaders began arriving at the site to plant the new forest.  They were reminded of the ecological and economic contribution that their work will make and that they were leaving a legacy, both for themselves and for those who would come after them.  Many of the youngsters will return to Camp Pirtle as Scouts, leaders, parents, and grandparents to see their handiwork grow and flourish.

When he saw the planting that the Scouts had completed, ETAC Council Executive Mike Ballew said, “This is an amazing example of education and service for our Scouts and our camp. Thanks to our friends, we will continue to make our forest stronger and more diverse for generations to use and enjoy.”  He expressed the council’s appreciation to CJT & Associates, Forestry Consultants, and to ArborGen LLC., Bullard, TX whose nursery donated the loblolly pine seedlings that the Scouts planted and which is going to donate the seedlings that will be planted on the remainder of the site.  ArborGen has donated all of the pine and hardwood seedlings that have been planted at Camp Pirtle since 2003.

Frank Shockley said that a favorite quote is from Dr. Patrick Moore, former Greenpeace leader and author of “Pacific Spirit – The Forest Reborn”, who wrote,  “If you desire a rich and rewarding life, study forests, there is no environment that offers more wonder or insight.  And plant a few more trees if you have the time.”