Church garden project helps local Boy Scout earn Eagle Scout award

Max Pan and some members of Sayre Boy Scout Troop 17 are pictured here in front of the Unitarian Universalist Church garden.

ATHENS — The front garden at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Athens received a facelift last year thanks to Max Pan and Sayre Boy Scout Troop 17. The project earned Pan his Eagle Scout award, which he received on June 9.

To prepare for the garden project, Pan met with the congregation to learn what its needs were. Church members wanted the garden to be attractive and they also wanted to incorporate native plants, a space for small gatherings, and a space for quiet meditation. Low maintenance was a priority.

Pan created a design based on the congregation’s input. He consulted with staff at Cornell Cooperative Extension in Owego to create a recommended list of native plants. He met a second time with the congregation to present his proposal, which was approved.

Over the course of two days, Pan supervised members of his scout troop and of the church as they weeded the existing garden and removed the old mulch. They laid down a weed barrier and new compost. Several shrubs and flowers were planted. The congregation later planted a dogwood tree in the center of the garden.

The work team laid pavers to create a patio in one corner of the garden. Two existing benches were painted and placed around the patio. Max’s mother, Shannon Pan, donated large umbrellas to provide shade until the dogwood tree reached maturity.

“(Once spring arrived), the garden thrived and will be even more attractive as the new plants grow. The congregation is grateful to Max for choosing the church garden as his Eagle Scout project,” a press release from the church said.

The Unitarian Universalist Church of Athens and Sheshequin is located at 112 North Street, Athens, Pa. UUCAS is an intentionally inclusive congregation which welcomes people of all religious backgrounds, racial and cultural origins, sexual orientations and gender identities. If you would like more information, please call us at 570-888-0252, email us at, or visit our website at

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