The 3,200 native plants Cody Jordan finished planting Saturday for his Eagle Scout project were watered Monday courtesy of a late afternoon downpour. Jordan plans to continue monitoring the plants to ensure their survival.
BELLEAIR - Palm Harbor University Sophomore Cody Jordan of Belleair, aged 15, and on a mission to earn his Eagle Scout Award, submitted a grant proposal to the Tampa Bay Estuary Program and won.
The program awarded a total of $160,000 to 25 applicants for projects that would entail citizen involvement and result in restoration of Tampa Bay. Funding for the grants comes from Tampa Bay Estuary license plate sales, a.k.a. the "Tarpon Tag".
Jordan's project called for clearing away invasive and exotic plants growing along Lake Seminole's shoreline around the observation platform in the park, then replanting with twenty types of native species.
Jordan originally intended to plant 1,598 native plants but as enthusiasm for the project grew, so did the number of plants.
Said Jordan, "After I received the grant money, I bought plants from Wilcox Nursery and then that amount was increased from donations made by the native plant society and other individuals."
Added Jordan's father, Marc Jordan, an assistant scout master, "He more than doubled what he first planned to do. The original scope for the project was to plant 1,400 but he ended up planting 3,200."
The native plants will provide wildlife habitat, including cover and food, and will prevent erosion.
Citizen involvement with the planting included assistance from Jordan's Boy Scouts of America Troop 404 and from some longtime Pinellas County natives as well.
The Jordans belong to the Pinellas County Pioneer Association. Several fellow members of the Association joined the scouts and along with the Sun Coast Native Plant Society and volunteers from the community met the first two Saturdays in May for clearing and planting.
Further assistance to complete the project came from Pinellas County Parks and Recreation Department Grants Specialist Debbie Chayet and Misty Cladas the Project Manager for the Tampa Bay Estuary Program.
Chayet praised Jordan and his accomplishment, "Cory is a very dedicated young man who successfully completed a meaningful and very large Eagle Scout project…His efforts will improve wildlife habitat and recreational enjoyment in the area of the observation platform. I am proud of Cody and his accomplishment and am glad to participate in his environmental stewardship."