Boy Scouts and leaders from Troop 724 were among the volunteers who helped with a tree planting project at Doheny State Park, November 3. Pictured here are (front row L to R) Doheny State Park’s Aurora Coronado and Vicki Wiker, Jesse Pickartz, Riley Cook, Michael Trant and Donna Gates; (back row L to R) Liam Cerniglia, Gloria Laub, Dan Priest, Alex Priest, James Pickartz and Hayden Laub. Photo by Andrea Swayne

Boy Scouts from Troop 724 among volunteers who planted new trees at Doheny State Park

By Andrea Swayne

Boy Scout Troop 724 from San Juan Capistrano was among a group of volunteers that gathered to help plant trees at Doheny State Park in Dana Point, November 3.

A call for help by park officials and the Doheny State Beach Interpretive Association was answered by dozens of local residents who pitched in with equal parts enthusiasm and elbow grease to make short work of the day’s project.

The native trees and shrubs were obtained via a $10,000 Odwalla Adopt-a-Tree grant won by the park in May and will replace non-native eucalyptus trees removed due to old age and disease or damaged by winter storms.

Scoutmaster Donna Gates said her troop tries to do some sort of outdoor activity each month as well as community service projects.

“This project combined the two,” Gates said. “And this is part of what Scouting is all about.”

Boy Scout Hayden Laub, 12, said he was happy to pick up a shovel and do the hard work because community service makes him feel like a better person. “I think the finished product looks great and our work is something we can really be proud of,” Laub said.

Riley Cook, 11, said the best part of the day was “digging the big holes” and working alongside his friends and fellow Scouts.

“I find that doing hard work like this makes me feel really accomplished,” said Michael Trant, 15.

Park naturalist Vicki Wiker said she is very thankful to the members of the community who volunteered their time for the project and she is especially pleased that area youth were among the hard working group that showed up ready to work.

For more information about the Odwalla grant or Doheny State Beach, see

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