A group of Boy Scouts from Nevada Troop 128, along with members of the Collins Lions Club, gathered at Collins Elementary last Friday to help a fellow Scout with his Eagle Scout project.

Brad Hofer, a sophomore at Collins-Maxwell High School, has been working on his Eagle Scout project for the past couple of months. He was approached by the Lions Club earlier this year about helping them plant trees at the Collins Elementary School.

Cori Huntrods of the Collins Lions Club said the organization received a grant from Forever Trees. They had already used part of the grant money to plant trees at the parks in Collins, with the help of the Collins Parks and Trees Committee. The Lions still needed to use the second part of the grant for a different community project. During Maxwell Old Settlers Days this past summer, Huntrods approached Hofer about taking charge of the tree-planting project in order to obtain the rank of Eagle Scout.

In planning the project, Hofer worked with the elementary school to determine where the trees should be planted. The trees were purchased from Country Landscapes in Ames, who assisted Hofer in choosing the trees and determining how far apart the trees should be planted. Hofer said even though he has an agricultural background, he has no previous experience planting trees. As a result, he said he has learned a lot from planning and carrying out his Eagle Scout project.

Last Friday, the Scouts and Lions Club members spent a majority of the day digging holes for the 20 trees and planting them. Crabapple trees were planted near the entrance to the school, while oak, elm, black gum and evergreen trees were among the species planted in the open lot to the north of the school. Hofer said he chose the species of trees based on their size, how much they would spread out, what would look the best and what type would provide the best windbreak.

"We appreciate all his hard work and taking on this task," Huntrods said.

Hofer still has several merit badges to complete and finish a write-up about the tree planting project before he can receive his Eagle Scout ranking. He said he hopes to apply for the ranking by the end of this year. In order to earn the Eagle Scout ranking, Scouts must complete a service project that benefits an organization (other than Boy Scouts) or their community before their 18th birthday, according to the Boy Scouts of America website.

Hofer has been involved in Scouts since his parents signed him up for Cub Scouts when he was in first grade.

"It gives you lots of experiences, and it’s fun to go on campouts and learn lots of stuff," Hofer said.