About 15 elementary school students (members of the “scrub club”) stood next to Boynton Beach Mayor Jerry Taylor on Wednesday afternoon with smiles on their faces. They counted to three and Taylor cut the blue ribbon in front of them.
The Galaxy Scrub is officially open.
It’s a 10-acre area that the city has worked with the Galaxy E3 Elementary students to preserve. It’s at the north side of the school campus, which is at 550 Northwest Fourth Ave.
The land was part owned by the Palm Beach County School District, and part owned by the city. The school district gave its land to the city for one big scrub area, said Glenda Hall, the city’s forestry and grounds manager and also the project manager.
Wednesday’s ribbon-cutting event celebrated Phase One of the project. So far, the students have taken environmental classes to learn about scrubs and why they are important. They created eco-art stepping stones for the scrub with exotic leaf prints. And, they planted 240 native tree seedlings in raised bed planters. The city’s garden club also has worked to maintain the scrub.
In the future, once the seedlings are mature, the students will plant them. The long-range plan is to make the scrub a teaching area and part of the city’s greenways path.
The scrub is a $47,000 project and is a public-private partnership. It was paid for through grants from the Florida Forest Service’s Urban and Community Forestry Grant Program and the Bachelor Foundation via the Education Foundation of Palm Beach County. Also, money from the city’s Capital Improvement Program went to the scrub.
Galaxy Scrub is home to birds such as the pileated woodpecker and red-shouldered hawk. There are gopher tortoises, green anoles and black racer snakes. As far as plants, there are prickly pear, saw palmetto and scrub oak.
There were several speeches at the event that complimented the work that went into the scrub and its success, but Commissioner Mike Fitzpatrick’s comments were personal.
Before Galaxy Elementary there was Boynton Junior High. As a student there in 1965, Fitzpatrick rode to school on his spyder bike and played in the scrub. Boynton had less people then, and Fitzpatrick has been a witness to the bulldozers moving through to make room for development.
He feared the scrub area would be gone one day.
Fitzpatrick told the story while fighting tears, and said: “Now, it’s here forever.”
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