Eighteen-year-old Aria Sheldon, chemical engineering student at the University of Kansas; 14-year-old Gwyne Buie, Scouts BSA Troop 166 member; 18-year-old Eagle Scout candidate Makenna Harris, Troop 166 member and geology student at KU; and 16-year-old Emily Harris, Troop 166 member, assemble a picnic table as part of Makenna's Eagle Scout project Jan. 16 at the Harris residence in Leavenworth. The picnic table, as well as two benches and a produce washing station, will be used by Center for Community Outreach - Earth Branch volunteers at the West Campus Garden on the KU campus. Photo by Prudence Siebert/Fort Leavenworth Lamp

Katie Peterson | Staff Writer

Makenna Harris, Scouts BSA all-female Troop 166 member, took advantage of the long holiday weekend to complete her Eagle Scout project Jan. 16 at her home in Leavenworth.


With the help of Scouts BSA volunteers, family and friends, Harris, a freshman at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, built a large table, two benches and a wash station to benefit the KU Center for Community Outreach environmental branch. The program tends to the gardens on campus and in Lawrence, and the items Harris built will be placed in the West Campus Garden that provides fresh produce for KU students.

Gwyne Buie, Scouts BSA Troop 166 member, helps 18-year-old Eagle Scout candidate Makenna Harris, Troop 166 member and geology student at KU, assemble a picnic table as part of Harris’ Eagle Scout project Jan. 16 at the Harris residence in Leavenworth. The picnic table, as well as two benches and a produce washing station, will be used by Center for Community Outreach – Earth Branch volunteers at the West Campus Garden on the KU campus. Photo by Prudence Siebert/Fort Leavenworth Lamp


The campus garden was founded in 2015 and has donated an estimated 1,500 pounds of produce to the Campus Cupboard, which provides free food to KU students, said Laura Phillips, environmental branch program coordinator.


Harris was able to fund the project with donations from area businesses in Lawrence and material donations from various hardware stores.


“I want (the table and benches) to give them places to actually work,” Harris said. “I know they struggle getting people out there to actually do gardening, so I’m hoping that if people know there is a place out there to sit instead of in the garden on your hands and knees…they can have an easier time out there working (and getting volunteers).”
Phillips said Harris’ project will help the program a lot.


“Makenna is helping us to create a sustainable and productive garden that is more accessible to all students on campus. (Her) project is going to streamline our ability to get food from the garden to the Campus Cupboard where it will be distributed to students. We previously had no way to wash produce and had to transport it to a secondary location to rinse before delivering it to the KU Union,” Phillips said. “Now that we will have a wash station, volunteers can help with more of the harvesting process and produce will be able to arrive at the Cupboard faster, which will consequently allow us to reduce produce that goes bad before reaching its destination.

Eighteen-year-old Aria Sheldon, chemical engineering student at the University of Kansas; 18-year-old Eagle Scout candidate Makenna Harris, Troop 166 member and geology student at KU; and Sarah Groefsema, Troop 166 Scoutmaster, celebrate flipping over a nearly complete picnic table while assembling the table as part of Harris’ Eagle Scout project Jan. 16 at the Harris residence in Leavenworth. The picnic table, as well as two benches and a produce washing station, will be used by Center for Community Outreach – Earth Branch volunteers at the West Campus Garden on the KU campus. Photo by Prudence Siebert/Fort Leavenworth Lamp


“Additionally, her picnic table and benches will provide a place for student volunteers to rest while working and enjoy the produce during a break, which is essential during the hot summer months,” she said. “We also anticipate the picnic table creating more of a welcoming atmosphere for students if they want to have a quiet place to study outside and away from the main campus traffic.”

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