Scout undertakes Common tree survey

Jul 29, 2020 by

Published July 29, 2020


LYNNFIELD — The Conservation Commission and DPW now have the latest information about trees located in the center thanks to incoming Lynnfield High School junior Jacob McPherson.

McPherson unveiled his Eagle Scout project to the Board of Selectmen on July 22. He recalled that he has been involved with the Boy Scouts since he was in first grade. As part of his Eagle Scout project, he decided to undertake a survey of the trees located around the Town Common. He worked with the Conservation Commission, DPW and the Tree Committee while doing the project.

“The purpose of this project is to observe trees around the Town Common and build a database for the Conservation Commission to use for documenting current inventory and future planning of Lynnfield’s green canopy,” said McPherson. “You may have noticed that the DPW is already adding and replacing trees around the Common.”

McPherson said he started working on the Eagle Scout project in September 2019. In addition to examining trees on the Common, McPherson also studied and documented trees on Main Street, South Common Street and Summer Street in the center.

“My Eagle Scout project was to observe and identify trees within a half-mile from the Town Common,” said McPherson. “The project was proposed by the Tree Committee and benefits the DPW and Conservation Commission in examining trees on the Common and the half-mile surrounding area for the town to use in future tree plantings and replacements. It also gives an overview of the current species around the center.”

In order to identify the trees, McPherson conducted a walkthrough of the area and took pictures.

“I took pictures on my iPad and numbered each one,” said McPherson. “I took pictures of the leaves and tree body to help me with the identification process. I repeated the process and numbering system on South Common Street, Main Street, Summer Street and the Common.”

During the winter, McPherson compiled the data he collected into Google Documents and spreadsheets. He also met with an Informational Technology Department employee at Town Hall in order to learn about the i-Tree Eco software the town uses.

McPherson conducted his second walkthrough of the Common and the surrounding area in March and April in order to continue identifying and documenting trees.

“At this point, I was more familiar with the trees in the different sections of the Common area,” said McPherson. “The spring was easier. For my second walkthrough, I had to collect circumference measurements in order to calculate the diameter at breast height (D.B.H.) for each tree and estimated the height of each tree. I created worksheets for each section of trees to record the measurements. The DPW requested these measures for the i-Tree Eco database.”

As part of the leadership requirement for the Eagle Scout project, McPherson gave an overview of the initiative to Troop 48 members. Unfortunately, he said the troop was unable to meet due to the COVID-19 virus pandemic.

“Therefore, my family assisted with the fieldwork,” said McPherson. “To have my troop participate, I set up spreadsheets with the measurements so troop volunteers could do the math calculations.”

After the measurements were calculated, McPherson entered the data he collected into the i-Tree Eco database.

“The DPW now has all of this data and is currently utilizing this information as they replace trees,” said McPherson.

McPherson said the area contains 80 maple trees, five oak trees, five dogwood trees, three common honey locust trees and three elm trees. He said the area also includes ash, locust, Turkish filbert hazel, Colorado blue spruce, crabapple, horse chestnut, American sycamore, red mulberry and Washington Hawthorne trees.

“With the completion of my project, I have helped the DPW by identifying trees and setting up documents in a database for the DPW to use now and in the future,” said McPherson. “I have identified and entered 122 trees from the Common and the surrounding area.”

McPherson thanked DPW Director John Tomasz, the Conservation Commission and the Tree Committee for the support they provided him while undertaking his Eagle Scout project.

Selectmen Chairman Chris Barrett commended McPherson for undertaking the Eagle Scout project.

“That is beyond impressive,” said Barrett. “I think this project has been needed in Lynnfield for awhile. Whenever I am around the Meeting House, I was always thinking about the health of the trees on the Common because we have a national treasure in the Meeting House. This project is awesome. I would expect to receive this type of feedback from a town official or an official from the state. When I see people from your generation taking such an interest in the community, it gives me hope about our community and our future.”

Selectman Dick Dalton agreed.

“I would like to thank you for undertaking this project,” said Dalton. “I am really impressed by the level of detail that went into it. It took a lot of hours and it is something that will benefit the town for years to come. That is what is so great about it. There are a lot of times we don’t have the money to take on projects like this in the town budget. This is a real help to the community. You should be proud of all of your hard work.”

Selectman Phil Crawford concurred with Barrett and Dalton’s point of view.

“Job well done Jacob,” said Crawford. “Congratulations on getting this done for the town and your Eagle Scout project. I also want to congratulate you for getting this project done during your sophomore year. We see a lot of seniors and those on their way to college working on their final Eagle Scout projects. The tree issues in town have been discussed for many years, particularly the ones that need to be taken down. Thank you for designating those and all of the work you are doing to assist the DPW.”

McPherson thanked the selectmen for their kind words and giving him the opportunity to present his project.

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