Eagle Scout project growing from garden

by W. Winston Skinner

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Ethan Smith of Boy Scout Troop 48 talks with Carol Chancey of the Moreland Cultural Arts Alliance during Saturday’s workday at God’s Little Acre. From left are McKenzie Smith, Chancey, Ethan Smith, Christopher Baxter, Scoutmaster Robert Baxter and Robbie Smith. 


Eagle Scout candidates in Moreland are finding fertile ground for their projects — the God’s Little Acre garden.

The garden is located on city property at the south end of the south Coweta town. The Moreland Cultural Arts Alliance manages the demonstration garden, which is envisioned as part of an experience for tourists to see what life was like in the agricultural land Georgia was before World War II.

Future plans for the garden include moving the birthplace home of novelist Erskine Caldwell there from the Moreland town square and locating historic barns and a small antebellum house on the site.

Two Eagle candidates, Christopher Baxter and Ethan Smith, from Troop 48 have started projects that will create trails at God’s Little Acre. The work on the first trail, which is Smith’s project, began Saturday.

He supervised other Scouts — and adult and youth volunteers from the community in preparing the area where the first trail will be located, just off U.S. Highway 29. City Councilman Troy Payne brought his loader to scrape the dirt to create the basic route.

Portland cement will be mixed with dirt to create a natural looking surface on the trails that will be hard enough for wheelchair use. Planting and landscaping around the trail will also be part of the project.

Baxter will oversee construction of a second trail project, which will include a cul-de-sac with seating and a tree or other landscape features.

Smith said he hopes to have lots of volunteers Saturday. The work will start at 9 a.m., and a hamburger/hot dog lunch will be served to the volunteers.

A tradition at God’s Little Acre is the Blessing of the Crop. That event will take place Friday at 6 p.m. Rodney Dexter Grier, pastor of Mt. Gilead United Methodist Church in Grantville, will be leading the responsive reading, and his wife, Eleanor, will sing “Victory in Jesus.”

The brief program will also include remarks by Moreland Mayor Dick Ford and by Carol Chancey, who oversees day-to-day work for MCAA.

Other Boy Scouts are also looking at projects at the garden, and MCAA leaders say there will be a need for other trails and amenities as the project unfolds. Smith’s sister, McKenzie Smith, talked with the MCAA board on Feb. 20 about creating an herb garden at God’s Little Acre for her Girl Scout Gold Award project.

The Gold Award is Girl Scouting’s equivalent of the Eagle achievement.

MCAA works to preserve Moreland’s history and also has a focus on the two authors from the town, Erskine Caldwell and Lewis Grizzard. The garden takes its name from the title of a popular Caldwell novel.

There will be special emphasis this year on remembering Grizzard, a humorist and journalist who grew up in Moreland. Grizzard died 20 years ago following surgery for a congenital heart ailment.

MCAA is sponsoring a ceremony at the Word lot at Southview Cemetery on March 20 at 5 p.m. The date will be the 20th anniversary of Grizzard’s death.

Michael Scott will play bagpipes at the gravesite, and there will be tributes to Grizzard and family members buried there. Grizzard often wrote about his mother, stepfather and other relatives buried at Southview.

Grizzard’s widow, Dedra, and his first cousin, Mary Ann Cauthen, are among those expected to attend. A reception will follow the ceremony at Moreland United Methodist Church, there Grizzard’s mother, Christine Atkinson, was a devoted member.

MCAA is also planning other activities for 2014. “There’s a lot in the pipeline,” Chancey said. “It’s going to be a busy year.”



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