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Scout groups planting trees around Clayton

As part of the celebration of the Boy Scouts of America's 100th anniversary, members of the Boy Scouts' Atlanta Area Council will plant 100 pin oak trees around the metro area, according to Lee Harper, district executive for the Tara District of the Atlanta Area Council.

The anniversary celebration began with plantings on Monday.

This month, Scouts of the Tara District are planting trees around Clayton County, at locations like the W.H. Reynolds Memorial Nature Preserve in Morrow, Clayton State University, Callaway Elementary School in Jonesboro and at Olde Towne Morrow, Harper said.

"Our motto for our 100th anniversary is ‘Celebrating the Adventure, Continuing the Journey,'" said Harper. "It [planting the trees] will signify the journey to be made."

According to Harper, Troop 1830 of Jonesboro and Troop 112 of Morrow will plant a pin oak tree on Saturday at the Reynolds Nature Preserve, and Troop 297 and Crew 297 of Rex will plant a tree at Clayton State University.

George Kay, charter organization representative for Troop 1830, said the troops will be at the nature preserve at 10 a.m., to plant the tree. The tree will be significant, because it will be the first tree planted in the nature preserve's future Georgia native tree arboretum.

Will Wagner, a park ranger for the W.H. Reynolds Memorial Nature Preserve, said the pin oak tree will produce acorns that will feed squirrels, chipmunks and other wildlife at the preserve.

"Really, what this tree will do is benefit the community," he said.

Troop and Crew 297 will plant a tree at 2 p.m., near Spivey Hall at Clayton State University, said Ricky Sosebee, scout master for Troop 297 and Venture Crew advisor for Crew 297.

He said the planting of the oak tree will assist his Boy Scouts and members of the Venture Crew in recognizing that they are a part of the organization's history.

"We want people to enjoy the shade of the tree for years to come," said Sosebee.

Amber Jones, a venturer in Crew 297, said the tree planting symbolizes the evolution of the Boy Scouts of America and the organization's continuous growth.

"I had the opportunity to join the Girls Scouts ... I didn't think it would be as much fun as venturing," said Jones, 17. "Venturing is a lot of fun for me."

According to Harper, Pack 911 will plant a tree at Callaway Elementary School, in Jonesboro, sometime within the next two weeks.

Ken Sweat, scout master for Troop 136 in Jonesboro, said that recently his troop and the Cub Scouts from Pack 964 in Jonesboro planted an oak tree at Olde Towne Morrow.

The trees were planted in the a park area of Olde Towne Morrow, approximately 30 feet apart, said Sweat. There are two benches between the trees, he said.

The trees will one day shade guests visiting Olde Towne Morrow, he added.

"I just thought it was neat to be able to plant that tree and being able to come back to the place and to see the work that we have done after the tree has grown," said Troop 136 Senior Patrol Leader Nash Woodlief, 15.

Al Johnson, den leader for Pack 964 in Jonesboro, said the Cub Scouts were anxious to get their hands dirty and begin the process of planting a tree at Olde Towne Morrow.

Kendall Ingram, a Cub Scout in Pack 964, said he was proud to partake in the project with his pack and Troop 136, because he was able to leave a mark in the community during the organization's 100th anniversary.

"I put down the top soil and the mulch," said Ingram, 11. "It was cold and rainy, but it wasn't really hard, but it felt really good, because we are doing something for the community."

Harper said there will be other activities and events for the troops, packs and crews of the Atlanta Area Council throughout the coming months as Boy Scouts of America's 100th anniversary celebration continues.