Johnathan Hoemke

A Copperas Cove teenager soon will construct an educational project in South Park that will allow visitors to learn about plant life.

The proposed venture is the Eagle Scout project of Johnathan Hoemke, a 17-year-old Copperas Cove High School student who has been a Boy Scout for nine years. Hoemke’s project involves installing 20 round metal poles as mounts for plaques for describing and showing pictures of the various plant life in the park.

Hoemke believes students at Martin Walker Elementary School could greatly benefit from the project.

“I think it will make a big impact,” Hoemke said. “Elementary students will learn how to recognize plants when they use the park for nature walks, as will new residents like families at Fort Hood.

:By providing the descriptions in both Spanish and English, I hope that people will become more accepting of other cultures.”

It took Hoemke about 60 days to decide on a project to propose and then another couple of weeks to write the proposal for the city council. But that’s when the biggest challenge with the project occurred.

“I submitted the project months ago and didn’t hear anything,” Hoemke said. “There was no communication. When Joseph Pace became the Parks and Recreation director, he pushed the project forward.”

Awaiting approval

The council approved the project in early September. Hoemke is now awaiting the project’s approval from the Longhorn Boy Scout Council, which takes about 30 days.

Pace said the project is worthwhile for the city.

“Visitors will benefit directly by being able to identify numerous plants and trees located throughout the park because of Mr. Hoemke’s Eagle Scout Project,” Pace said.

Hoemke will pay the installation cost while the city will maintain the plaques and mounts after they are erected.

“The project is funded solely by Mr. Hoemke’s collection and donation efforts,” Pace said. “The city will provide oversight and direction, when needed, to Mr. Hoemke and will continue to maintain the area as it does now and in the future with the project in place.”

Hoemke needs about $1,700 in materials to build the project and will work with local businesses to get the items donated.

Once he has the materials, it will take him two days to finish the project, which should be completed by the end of the year.

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