Thanks to Zach Whetstone, Riverside Elementary School students will enjoy some outdoor education this fall.
The member of Boy Scout Troop 185 based at Dublin Community Church completed his Eagle Scout project last month, adding a retaining wall, mulch and landscaping in Riverside's courtyard.
"At first I had a project in here that involved gutters and a rain barrel," Whetstone said, adding that after that fell through he still wanted to "fix the erosion problem" in the courtyard.
So Whetstone, with the help of 10 other scouts and volunteers replaced a sloping dirt area with a retaining wall that now holds plants and mulch.
"At first it looked like a down ramp of dried dirt and plants," he said.
"We removed the plants first and then started digging for the pavers."
Whetstone helped with and managed the building of the 46-foot retaining wall that will make the courtyard a good area for some outdoor education, said Riverside Principal Staci Lutz.
"It's an amazing learning area for kids, but it was always wet and overgrown," she said. "As soon as Zach started to work out here I saw more and more teachers bringing small groups out here.
"There are only two buildings in Dublin (City Schools) that have courtyards like this," Lutz said.
"It's great to see it utilized."
Whetstone, an incoming junior at Dublin Scioto High School, attended Riverside and remembered using the space as a student.
"I'm glad I did this project," he said. "I'm glad I was able to make a difference in the present and the future. I'm glad I got to be part of that."
"He's teaching ownership of your school," Lutz said, adding Whetstone has been a great role model for students, even attending a monthly town hall meeting at the school to explain the project to students.
While leveling the area for the retaining wall and dealing with rainy weather were major challenges, Whetstone also had to find supplies for the project.
"I got no money from the school district," he said. "I got money from the PTO and donations from some of the teachers.
"I did another service project at a preschool and mulched their playground," Whetstone said. "They gave me a donation too."
Embassy Suites also donated money and time on Leadership Dublin's Community Service Day.
"Embassy Suites called and said they wanted to help," said Jennifer Whetstone, Zach's mother.
"Zach and the manager worked together."
As a member of the Boy Scouts since first grade, Whetstone said he's always planned to become an Eagle Scout.
"The project teaches a lot about real-world skills and things you'll be using in jobs like management," he said. "It's taught me how to interact with other people."
Although the Court of Honor for Whetstone is planned for this fall, Whetstone expects to be officially approved as an Eagle Scout later this month.