Eagle Scout project enhances Calusa Elementary’s landscape

Eagle Scout Carlos Lopez landscaped sections of Calusa Elementary School for his Eagle project.

Coral Reef High sophomore Carlos Lopez now is an Eagle Scout. Lopez is a member of Troop 811, which meets at Calusa Elementary School in West Kendall.

Lopez, 15, who attended Calusa, decided to honor the school by doing his Eagle project there. The landscaping project was completed in December 2011.

Scouts must complete their project by the time they are 18. In order to become an Eagle, Scouts must have achieved the rank of Life Scout; they must earn 21 badges, 12 of them Eagle required, and they must plan and complete a community service project. He met with the school principal, Carmen Fuentes, and they agreed to landscape outside the media center.

“I did a landscaping project in two areas,” Lopez said. “We moved old plants around and put in new plants, including bromeliads. One area was north of the media center and another was west of the media center. The project was to beautify the school.

“When she [the principal] showed us the area, a lot of plants grew out of the area and the grass was pretty high. She wanted the area to be maintained.”

Lopez and his volunteers started the day weeding the area. Then they put in the stone borders, similar to what the school already had in place.

“We put it around the garden area,” he said. “After that we started putting in new plants and started putting mulch around the plants.”

It took approximately five hours to complete the job.

In order to complete the project, Lopez needed to raise the funds for the plans, so two weeks in advance, he held a car wash.

“I raised a lot of money to buy the plants and the stone borders,” Lopez said. “Home Depot donated a $50 gift card toward some of the materials and one of the parents donated $100.”

He bought plants, stone borders and mulch to beautify the area. He had mulch left over that he will use to maintain the project.

It took a few months for the planning and preparation. He contacted the principal in August, met in September and worked through November planning the landscaping.

“I considered different venues to hold the project. I was considering Larry and Penny Thompson Park,” he said. “But I spent more time at Calusa even after I graduated from elementary school. I went to Scout meetings there.”

After completing the project, Lopez underwent his Board of Review, which bestowed the rank on him. His Court of Honor, where the badge is officially bestowed on him, took place on May 20.

At Coral Reef, Lopez is a member of the cross-country team and the track and field team. This year he is running the 800-meter and 1,600-meter events. Last year he ran the mile and the two-mile events. He also runs the four-by-800 relay.

Lopez is in the Visual and Performing Arts Academy with a concentration on painting and photography. His work is shown in art shows, sometimes through the school and sometimes as an individual. One of the recent shows was at Pinecrest Gardens in January. He also had art in the Celebrate Youth Art Festival in Palmetto Bay.

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