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East Syracuse Minoa Girl Scouts renovate Pine Grove Memorial Garden for Silver Award Project

East Syracuse Minoa (ESM) Central School District students Natalie Diaz, Ashlynne Schuss and Natalie Myers of Girl Scout Troop 10030 in East Syracuse, N.Y., part of the Girl Scouts of NYPENN Pathways Council, have collectively spent 150 hours rebuilding a memorial garden at the district’s Pine Grove Middle School for their Girl Scout Silver Award project. They will host a rededication ceremony on Saturday, September 10, at 11 a.m. at the site located at 101 Spartan Way in East Syracuse and invite the community to attend.

The Pine Grove Memorial Garden was originally created for and dedicated to teachers and students who passed away while teaching at or attending the school. Over the years, the garden was moved and became quite overgrown, unmanageable, and had practically gone unnoticed.


Natalie, Ashlynne and Natalie developed the restoration project for their Silver Award, the highest honor a Girl Scout Cadette (grades 6-8) can earn. Girls who pursue this award look around their neighborhoods and/or schools and develop a project to make their community better in the process.

(L-R) ESM Superintendent Dr. Donna DeSiato; ESM Girl Scouts Natalie Myers, Ashlynne Schuss, and Natalie Diaz; and Pine Grove Principal Ashleigh Wilson stand in front of Pine Grove Memorial Garden in East Syracuse. For their Girl Scout Silver Award project, the girls worked for 50 hours each and raised approximately $1,000 in funds through a bottle drive and donations to rebuild the site. A community rededication will be held on Saturday, September 10, at 11 a.m.

“For us, this began as a project to beautify a community/outdoor learning space. As we interviewed the original creators of the garden and learned about the history and the people it was meant to honor, it became a more personal responsibility to carry on their legacies,” says Ashlynne.

The trio began work on their Silver Award project in October 2021 and will continue to maintain the garden in spring and fall. They are looking for younger troops to get involved to help care for the garden in the future. Girl Scout Silver Award projects require 50 hours of work per Girl Scout. The girls have raised approximately $1,000 in funds for the project through a bottle drive as well as donations. They completed their work with support from project guides Melissa Diaz, Holly Schuss and Erin Myers.


Ashlynne and Natalie M. completed 8th grade at Pine Grove Middle School in June and will be 9th graders at ESM Central High School this fall. Natalie D. is entering 8th grade at Pine Grove. Ashlynne and Natalie D. have been Girl Scouts since Daisy level (grades K-1) and Natalie M. since Junior level (grades 4-5).

To learn more about this Girl Scout Silver Award project or for questions about the rededication and getting in touch with the troop, please email project guide Holly Schuss at 315.374.7141 or hollyschuss@yahoo.com.



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