Eleanor Richardson creates 'Fairy Trail' at Sycamore Creek Park to earn Girl Scout Silver Award

Nate Ellis
ThisWeek group
Pickerington Central freshman Eleanor Richardson, 15, created the Sycamore Creek Park Fairy Trail, which consists of 10 miniature homes around the park’s pond, a walking trail and the arboretum. The project was for her Girl Scout Silver Award.

A Pickerington teen hopes her Girl Scout project will encourage more people to explore Sycamore Creek Park.

Those who’ve visited the park this winter may have noticed the parade of tiny homes that dot the landscape around the park’s pond, a walking trail and the arboretum.

The 10 handcrafted and decorated miniature houses that make up the Sycamore Creek Park Fairy Trail are courtesy of Eleanor Richardson, a 15-year-old freshman at Pickerington High School Central and member of Girl Scout Troop 1313.

Richardson worked more than 120 hours to create the houses in collaboration with six fellow Troop 1313 members, three other friends and her parents, Michelle and Eric. The family spent about $150 on the project, with some materials being donated.

The homes were installed in November with the blessing of the Pickerington Parks and Recreation Department and Pickerington City Council. Richardson began the project in June.

It was all part of Richardson's bid to obtain her Girl Scout Silver Award, the second-highest honor that can be achieved by members who are in ninth-grade or higher. She was notified Dec. 18 that she earned the award.

Richardson sought to encourage others to be active and explore a park she’s enjoyed since childhood.

“We have it starting off at the pond at the upper part of the park,” Richardson said. “It’s goes along a paved trail down to the lower section and into the tree arboretum.

“It’s meant to get people into the park. Sycamore Park is one of the city’s largest parks and right now, it’s hard to find things to do.”

In addition to promoting recreation, Richardson wants her project to create fun and excitement for children. Those were among the reasons her project had the support of city officials.

In conjunction with the trail, the parks and rec department has created a Fairy Trail map with information about the types of trees located near each house.

The maps are available at the department's office in Pickerington City Hall, 100 Lockville Road, or can be printed from the city’s Facebook page.

“It was a great addition to the park,” said Becca Medinger, parks and recreation director. “Especially during this past year where more small group activities were encouraged, this is something you can do with your family that we have not offered in prior years.

“It is a self-guided, seek-and-find tour.”

The city’s Facebook page is where Samantha Low-Arthur, a leader for Pickerington-based Girl Scout Troop 6267, discovered the trail. She thought it would be a fun activity for her daughters, Natalie, 8, Cheyanna, 7, and Leondra, 6.

“Our girls really enjoyed seeing the adorable fairy houses,” Low-Arthur said. “They were excited to learn that a fellow Girl Scout was the creator of the trail.

“It was a great reason to get out of the house during this pandemic winter. The trail was the perfect length for my kids. Not too long or too short. They got so excited every time they found one of the fair houses. This is such a lovely addition to our much-loved local park.”

While Cheyanna gave the trail a score of “a million” and Leondra described it as “amazing,” Natalie was impressed by the craftsmanship and detail of the houses.

“I thought is was amazing because the houses came in all different shapes sizes and they used items from nature like sticks and pine cones,“ she said.

Richardson said when she was researching potential Silver Award projects, Violet Township Trustee Melissa Wilde encouraged her to consider a Fairy Trail in one of the community’s parks.

In addition to enhancing Sycamore Creek Park, Richardson was excited about the concept because it would allow her and her mother to incorporate their crafting interests, and she could put to use her father’s woodworking skills.

“I really liked the idea because I’ve been going to the park all my life,” Richardson said. “I wanted to do something fun there.

“I was definitely a big project. I’m very happy I included other Girl Scouts because I would never have gotten it done without them.”

Michelle Richardson said they tried to incorporate natural materials like wood, moss, pine cones and acorns as they decorated the miniature structures.

“We used a lot of woodland stuff,” she said. “They are in the woods, so we wanted them to look like they belong.”

While some repairs have been needed because of visitors picking up and handling the houses, Eleanor Richardson said she’s pleased with the result of her project, and she’s glad the parks and rec department intends to keep the trail.

“I just hope this gets more people out to the park so they know it’s there and can enjoy it,” she said.

nellis@thisweeknews.com

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