Two separate Girl Scout Silver Award projects were completed and dedicated last month at Howland Township Park and at the North Road Nature Preserve MetroPark.
MacKenzie Polakoff of Cortland, a freshman at Lakeview High School and member of Girl Scout Troop 598 in Howland, designed and completed the enclosed Howland Toddler Park, which is located across from Tiger Town at the former basketball courts.
The fenced-in play area is for infants to age 6 and includes hopscotch, four-square, a tricycle trek area, tic-tac-toe, a putting green and picnic area. The area also includes an alphabet in various shapes and sizes for the children to see.
Polakoff painted giant puzzle pieces on the cement in four different colors on the old basketball court. Small children can ride their tricycles over the brightly painted primary colors, Polakoff said. From a bird's-eye view of the area, the pieces all fit together.
The main entrance is painted in red and includes a ''Welcome'' on the ground. The yellow painted area has a quote from Girl Scout founder Juliette Gordon Low.
Polakoff is doing the project for her Silver Award and needs 50 hours.
Another project was completed by Ariel Takat, a freshman at Howland High School and member of Girl Scout Troop 598.
The project included a tree identification activity and tree informational display at the kiosk area of the 142-acre North Road Nature Trail, which is part of the Trumbull County MetroParks. There is also a children's tree activity sheet.
Visitors can get informational sheets where they have to identify 12 different types of trees on the trail, such as maple and birch, Takat said. The activity sheets and game are part encourages people to walk the trail and find the different varieties of trees.
''The activity also provides different information on the trees in the area and an understanding of the nature here,'' Takat said.
Barbara Rosenblum, leader for Troop 598, said the Silver Award is the highest award a Girl Scout can earn in sixth to ninth grades.
''These community service projects are very impressive and involve a lot of creativity, a lot of organization, planning, and communication skills, and coordinating with the park board. These girls had true passion for their projects,'' Rosenblum said.
Park Board member Jim LaPolla said the board is always looking for anyone or a group wanting to do a community service project at any township park.
''It's always nice when community service groups like the Girl Scouts can help improve our community by doing wonderful projects like this. These are fantastic opportunities for people,'' he said.
Park Board member Jackie Mills said there are limited sidewalks for the toddlers to ride on so the enclosed Toddler Park area provides a safe area for them.
''This is an opportunity for the children to have free rein and be able to ride their park. This is a wonderful addition,'' Mills said.
Zachary Svette of Trumbull MetroParks said Takat's project is a nice addition to the nature trail, which will encourage people to get outside and use the nature trail.
''This adds another dimension to what people can do using the trail system,'' he said.