Girl Scouts create Rosemont Preserve garden

Girl Scout Talin Bakalyan, her father, Greg, Girl Scout Tara Hejazi Hashemi, her father, Saeid Hejazi and Girl Scout Megan McKiernan carry a wood frame that is part of a demonstration box in place at Rosemont Preserve's visitor center, showcasing various species of plants. (Courtesy of Caroline McKiernan / July 27, 2014)

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Three local Girl Scouts recently took on a project at the Rosemont Preserve that blossomed into a demonstration garden for its outdoor classroom, showcasing various types of plants at the site.

Talin Bakalyan, Tara Hejazi-Hashemi and Megan McKiernan, all students at Crescenta Valley High School and members of Troop 5511, built five redwood planter beds that make up the plot for their Silver Award project.

The plants will be used to teach young students about the types of plants they can find in the preserve, said Barbara Nielsen, volunteer with the Friends of the Rosemont Preserve.

"Part of our education program for second- and third-graders is to teach them about native plants and native Tongva uses of the plants," she said, referring to the native people who have inhabited the Crescenta Valley and all of the Los Angeles Basin for close to 9,000 years.

"We're helping children learn through nature," she added.

Eventually, at least 10 different types of plants will be in the boxes, and more than one of each of the species.

"We want to show them at different stages of their growth cycle," Nielsen said, adding that the types of plants under consideration for the boxes include white sage, black sage, California buckwheat, elderberry or wild cucumber.

When considering what project they should pursue, McKiernan said the girls initially wanted to help repair the trails that had been damaged by the Station Fire in the Angeles National Forest. However, they couldn't find anyone looking for volunteers, she added.

"When we weren't able to help out some of the actual hiking trails that had been damaged in the fire, we found out about the Rosemont Preserve and the many opportunities [there]," McKiernan said.

Bakalyan said the project was important to her because "it showed me that we were able to make a difference in the community by creating a place that visitors can go and enjoy nature and learn about native plants."

Hejazi-Hashemi took a more hands-on perspective regarding what she learned during the project.

"I learned so much about how to use power tools," she said, adding that she also learned leadership skills, responsibility and "how to take matters into my own hands."