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For two Ellicott City residents, coronavirus pandemic projects reach fruition | Mostly Main

This is the time of year that we gravitate toward our family and friends to share the pleasures of the extended holiday season. This year, however, is different. We are encouraged to continue to isolate ourselves and so I thought it would be nice to dedicate this column to a couple of our Ellicott City neighbors, enjoying their accomplishments for the betterment of our community.

Matt Jamerson is a 16-year-old junior at Howard High School and a member of Boy Scout Troop 794, which meets at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church on Ilchester Road in Ellicott City. He has been working to complete the requirements to achieve Eagle Scout status. For his service project, he chose to restore the landscaping around the Thomas Isaac Log Cabin on Main Street in the historic district, which had been destroyed during the 2018 flood.

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“This project is just one component of the process of becoming an Eagle Scout, which takes place over years as you pass through multiple ranks with their own requirements," Matt said. "Ultimately, an Eagle Scout will have served in leadership positions, earned at least 21 merit badges, received recommendations from community members, completed reviews and been active in the troop consistently.

"As someone who plays basketball year-round and used to play baseball, wants to do well at school, and has other commitments, it was challenging to balance everything. The final project required a lot of work, especially drafting the initial proposal and then doing the planning and preparation before the actual installation.”

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In 2012, Matt had planted daffodil bulbs around the cabin as a group Scouting service project, so he was naturally interested in being a part of the restoration of the cabin’s open space in 2020. Matt worked with Tim Overstreet, superintendent of horticulture and land management for the Howard County Department of Recreation and Parks. He had to research native flowers, shrubs and grasses to create a historically accurate meadow-like setting with native perennials surrounding the cabin. He recruited a team of volunteers for the one-day project, where they turned over the soil, planted materials and mulched the beds.

Go see the result; it’s beautiful. Matt had his board of review on Nov. 4 — the final step in earning the rank. He is now an official Eagle Scout.

Matt Jamerson restored the landscaping around the Thomas Isaac Log Cabin on Main Street for his Eagle Scout project.
Matt Jamerson restored the landscaping around the Thomas Isaac Log Cabin on Main Street for his Eagle Scout project. (Courtesy photo)

Angie Kozlowski is an Ellicott City resident and chair of the newly formed conservation committee of the local Daughters of the American Revolution. Last winter, she was looking for a project she could do during the quarantine that would offer a way to reduce her household’s contribution to the landfill.

“I read an article about ditching store-bought sponges for more natural options," she said.

She decided to try growing her own gourds to turn into loofah sponges. The gourds require a long growing season; she planted them indoors on March 8, the first full day she stayed home because of the pandemic. They grew well indoors and then were moved outside onto raised beds protected from deer and rabbits by multiple layers of fencing.

At this point, the plants were around 35 feet long.

“The plants are starting their decline after a very bountiful and what looks to be a successful growing phase,” Kozlowski said. "The gourds will be harvested once they are yellow and brown and dead on the vine. We will then peel them, shake out the seeds, hose off the remaining sap, give them a bleach bath and then dry them, hopefully outside in the sunshine. Once they are completely dry they can be stored in airtight containers until they are used. It has been a really fun gardening experiment every step of the way, especially during the pandemic.”

Angie Kozlowski, of Ellicott City, is growing her own gourds to turn into loofah sponges.
Angie Kozlowski, of Ellicott City, is growing her own gourds to turn into loofah sponges. (Courtesy photo)

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