Kids & Family

Girl Scouts Transform School Courtyard "Jungle"

It was overgrown and unused before they started. Now students will relax and learn about the science of plants there.

It took three years and a lot of planning and back breaking labor, but the courtyard at Boyce Middle School in the Upper St. Clair School District outside Pittsburgh looks like, well, a courtyard. A serene place for reading, a garden for growing plants -- not the jungle it once was.

Volunteers hope the courtyard garden will be a comfortable place for reflection and learning.

The transformation is thanks to the hard work of a bunch of people, including four Girl Scouts who teamed with school nurse Holly Fisher and recruited volunteers to tear out overgrown bushes and trees, clear weeds, spread mulch, build raised planters, and plant vegetables and flowers, like lilies and butterfly bushes.

For their efforts, now-freshmen Kara Fisher, Olivia Cuba, Kate Robbins, and Anna McElligott (above) earned their Girl Scout Silver Award which recognizes students in sixth, seventh or eighth grade for making a difference in their communities.

"We've been talking about it for about three years, Boyce Middle School Principal Dan O'Rourke told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette . As soon as we started working together, that's when it came together."

"It has been incredibly rewarding to work with so many groups and individuals toward a common goal."

Principal O'Rourke plans to have a club at the school take over responsibility for the garden, expand it, and to work to incorporate it into the curriculum. School nurse Holly Fisher, who mentored the Scouts, sees endless possibilities for incorporating the courtyard into the normal school day and beyond. Some teachers are just excited to have an alternative place to take students to learn."

Tomatoes ready for harvest!

The renovation cost about $2,000 (provided by the district and the school parent-teacher group) and will take money and need volunteers to maintain. If you live in the area and want to help out, you can e-mail Mr. O'Rourke at or Mrs. Fisher at

Way to go Scouts and Boyce Middle School family! If your community is joining together to make the neighborhood together, sign up at Sparkt and tell us about it.There's nothing we love more than when you #StartSomethingGood!

(Images: Boyce Middle School website )

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