Philip Thrash, a Boy Scout with Troop 55 in Charlotte, is helping conserve the local owl population. Thrash started his conservation project at Cane Creek Park in Waxhaw in February with the ambition of earning the Hornaday Award in Scouting for achievement in conservation.“I hope this project makes my family proud of me,” Thrash said. “Hopefully (other Scouts) will build their projects off of mine and continue the legacy.”Thrash’s project includes mounting and monitoring 15 owl boxes for the next two years. The boxes provide places where owls can safely live, mate and raise their owlets during February and March.During the rest of the year, the owls will continue to use many of the boxes, while more boxes become home to various other animals, including squirrels. In July, Thrash found four houses occupied by owls. He will continue to monitor the boxes and report his findings. “It has been successful so far,” he said. Thrash contributes his success to his mentor, former Scoutmaster Stewart Tucker, and Mark Stanback, a biology professor at Davidson College. To receive the Hornaday Award, Thrash must complete four environmental management projects that make substantial contributions to conservation during a three-year period. Thrash has made it a personal goal to achieve the award.He is the son of Dana and David Thrash of Charlotte.Teacher honored Patricia Smith, the physical education teacher at Idlewild Elementary School, has been chosen by The Alliance for a Healthier Generation, a nonprofit created to end childhood obesity, as a Healthy Schools Program Ambassador.Smith has been teaching at Idlewild for seven years.Smith will represent her school and district as part of the Healthy Schools Program, which supports schools nationwide working to instill healthy habits in students and staff. “I feel blessed to be honored with this award,” Smith said. Idlewild started working with the alliance two years ago.The alliance “helps me to transform my school’s nutrition and physical education program,” Smith said. “It positively affects all aspects of the school experience.”So far, Smith said, the students and staff have responded well to the program, but there is still work ahead of them.“This is a marathon, not a sprint,” she said. “It takes passion, dedication, time and persistence to create and sustain any change.”Idlewild also earned the Alliance for a Healthier Generation Healthy Schools Program National Recognition Award, Smith said. She will accept the award on the school’s behalf during a Healthy Schools Program forum Sept. 29 through Oct. 1 in Little Rock, Ark.The Healthy Schools Program is sponsored by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Gold Award Victoria Belcher, who graduated from Weddington High School in June, has earned her Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest achievement that can be earned in Girl Scouting.Victoria is a member of Troop 1278, led by Kathleen Holland. Belcher led a project at Rock Rest Elementary School in Monroe in which she helped make improvements to the school courtyard, created student gardens and organized a book/supply drive. Belcher was president of the DECA Marketing Club at Weddington and worked with them to organize a book and supply drive at Rock Rest.Belcher said her project helped “build a connection between the two schools.”National Honor Society and DECA Marketing Club adviser Pat Kowalo and Rock Rest Principal Keitha Rodden helped Belcher meet her goal. “It’s the most significant thing I’ve ever accomplished,” Belcher said. Weddington High and Honor Society members joined Belcher in a celebration and dedication of Rock Rest’s revamped courtyard April 18. Belcher said working with the students at Rock Rest was rewarding.“They were so helpful and willing to share,” she said. “They inspired me to be a better person.”Belcher also received a McNair scholarship from USC. She was National Honor Society Vice president, Academic Team captain at Weddington High and recipient of the Academic Athlete of the Year award two years running, said Belcher’s mother, Stephanie Belcher. Belcher lives in Weddington with her mother and father, Rick Belcher.Teddy bear teaThe residents of Woodridge, a DePaul Senior Living Community in Monroe, had some special visitors to their tea social Aug. 2. In honor of National Teddy Bear Picnic Day, the residents enjoyed tea alongside teddy bears donated by family members and guests. “It was a fun day to get together and honor our teddy bears,” said Lisa Fago, activities director at Woodridge.The residents created teddy bear-sized tie-dyed T-shirts and enjoyed teddy bear crackers and lemon tea. “They thoroughly enjoyed it,” Fago said. “Any reason to get together and have a party, they are all for it.”Woodridge residents decorated and donated teddy bears to the fire department last year, but this year will take them home. Fago plans to continue marking National Teddy Bear Picnic Day every year with bear-related activities.Scholarship winner Joshua Pyant, a junior exercise physiology pre-med major at East Carolina University, has won a scholarship from United Health Foundation’s Diverse Scholars Initiative. Pyant, the son of a single mother, said the scholarship will make a big difference in his ability to pay for school. “Every year (school) is going up more with tuition,” he said. “The scholarship is a blessing.”Pyant urged others to seek any opportunities that come along. “You’ve got to keep striving for what you want,” he said. The United Health Foundation’s Diverse Scholars Initiative is intended to build a more diverse health-care workforce. The foundation awarded $1.2 million in scholarships to 200 students from diverse multicultural backgrounds in the 2012-13 school year, according to a news release from the foundation.The foundation will have awarded $10 million in scholarships by the end of 2013. Seven scholarships have been awarded in North Carolina since 2007.Gold medals JT McDonald, a sixth-grader at Weddington Middle School, won two gold medals and a silver medal during the 2013 AAU Junior Olympics in Detroit at the end of July.The North Carolina taekwondo team took home five medals this year. McDonald, 11, has been involved in taekwondo for seven years and is a second-degree black belt. This was his third time in the Junior Olympics. “It’s very fun going there and winning,” JT said. “I had to put a lot of work into it.”JT trains throughout the year, and lives with his coach, Master Missy Cann, in New Bern for a few weeks. He trains locally at WOW Taekwondo in Waxhaw.JT’s father, Rodney McDonald, said the whole family is proud of JT’s accomplishments.
Friday, Aug. 30, 2013
Charlotte Boy Scout working to help protect owls
Amanda Phipps is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for Amanda? Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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