Lake Norman & Mooresville

Thomas Caprariello earns Eagle rank by completing a wetlands garden

Thomas Caprariello, a Boy Scout since second grade, recently completed his Eagle Scout project and will have his award ceremony early next year.

His project was that he “managed the execution of a wetland rain garden on the campus of (Christ the King Catholic High School).”

Thomas is a member of Troop 97 at St. Mark’s Catholic Church. The son of Tom and Claire, and brother of Brian and Colleen, 17-year-old Thomas lives in the Birkdale neighborhood of Huntersville.

In the fall, Thomas hopes to attend UNC Wilmington and major in business.

“Eagle Scout is something that only 4 percent of Scouts get to call themselves,” Thomas said. “Completing your Eagle Scout project shows the passion of what we all do in Scouting, but for me, it also shows he importance of the service I do for my school.”

Thomas said he had his Eagle Scout project switched three times. An administrator suggested a deck or a patio for the school. “My biology teacher suggested the garden, since she knew that all back there is a wetland.”

According to the University of Illinois Extension, a wetland is a place that “is poorly drained and consistently moist.” Thomas further explained, “Where the garden is, it is designated a wetland and will get a lot of water. The plants that are there can take massive amounts of rainfall without drowning themselves out. They can handle having wet feet,” he said and smiled.

“All plants in the garden are native to North Carolina,” he added.

Thomas said, “The execution phase of the project had seven Scouts, including myself, and three adults. We came out to school on Memorial Day. … I told people to come at 10 (a.m.).

“We worked two to 2 1/2 hours, planted about 40 plants, fertilized and put on mulch, and watered. We surrounded the garden with a rock barrier with rocks found around campus.”

“Once all was said and done,” Thomas said, “I looked at the garden, and I felt it was bland. It needed something.”

Thomas had to expand his plans from his original design.

“There was a birdhouse nearby, so we put in a birdbath. We also put in a statue of Saint Fiacre, the patron saint of gardens. And we put in a sign that said what we did. Then the garden was all tied in together. It complemented the area.”

Thomas’s project is at one end of the wetlands behind the school. He specifically put the garden there because “lots of people in the school are in Scouts,” he said. “The garden sets a paving stone to expand. When future students need a project to be an Eagle Scout, they can add on.”