Josh Delfield’s Eagle Scout project involved giving St. Boniface School’s outdoor classroom a facelift. (Photo courtesy of Josh Delfield)
The outdoor classroom at St. Boniface School recently got a big facelift thanks to Josh Delfield’s Eagle Scout project. The Eagle Scout Service Project is the opportunity for a Scout in the Boy Scouts of America to demonstrate leadership of others while performing a project for the benefit of his church or community.
The Germantown High School senior began contacting area business owners for donations of medium and materials, such as mulch and stones, to update the outdoor space.
Created in the 1990s by a group of St. Boniface School teachers and parents, the outdoor classroom featured trees, shrubs and native flowers.
According to Sandy Neureuther, kindergarten teacher and outdoor classroom liaison, later additions included a pond, seating area, a table and more. After 20 years, however, the classroom was in need of attention.
Delfield, a member of St. Boniface Parish and St. Boniface School alumnus, contacted Neureuther about fixing up the outdoor classroom and the two discussed what needed to be done to make it an inviting space for teachers to hold class for their students.
“The outdoor classroom is used for educational activities, such as reading, art, writing, science and religion,” she said. “It is a great place for prayer and just observing nature. Occasionally, a teacher may bring a class there to eat lunch. The outdoor classroom includes a pond, benches, a picnic table, a compost bin, bird feeders, bird baths, raised garden boxes, and several angel and saint statues.”
The last week in August, Delfield, a member of Germantown Boy Scout Troop 115, gathered a team of friends and fellow scouts to install new mulch, donated from Wendlands Tree Nursery, and added new stones, donated by Kevin Zimmer, to use as a border to the pond.
“We did many things to improve the outdoor classroom, which included taking out all of the overgrown brush and weeds. We cut down dead tree branches. We waterproofed seven benches and a picnic table,” he said. “Now that all the weeds are gone, it will also allow more space for kids to socially distance.”
The project to renovate the Outdoor Classroom took Delfield and his team about 25 hours to complete over the course of four days. It was completed by the first day of school.
“A lot of planning was put into the project beforehand,” he said. “I wanted to do this because I remembered when I went to school at St. Boniface and used the outdoor classroom for science class. I thought it would be a good way to give back to the school. It was neat to fix up the place.”
The only challenge for Delfield and his team was the rainstorm that dampened work for several hours of the first day, but thankfully, with a lot of effort, they were able to complete it in the time he allotted for the project.
Earning the rank of Eagle was an important goal for Delfield, who has been a member of the Scouts since the first grade.
“The Eagle rank is the highest rank in scouting,” he said. “Earning the Eagle Scout rank means you have served your community, which is one of scouting’s main values.”
Feedback for the project was positive, according to Delfield, who said teachers were happy with the work he and his team did, and several began using it the first week.
“It was great for them, as they were able to social distance, learn and be able to go outside,” he said.
Neureuther was one of the teachers who began using the Outdoor Classroom the first week of school.
“I took my kindergartners out a couple of times. One time was for a math activity in which I scattered number cards throughout the outdoor classroom. The students had to find them and then put them in numerical order,” she said. “We also took time to observe the frogs in the pond. Approximately, 90 students will benefit from the outdoor classroom this year.”