For residents of Medicine Lake, hearing that their beloved, but battered, message tree was to be replaced by a weather-protected message board was a bit of a shock. “The message tree was such an institution for our city, and like any major change, it will take a while for the city to fully embrace this change,” says previous Medicine Lake mayor Gary Holter.
Since its unveiling last September, the new board has so far proven itself hardy against the harshest of Minnesota’s seasons. Girl Scouts Caroline McCullough and Nicole Erager proposed the idea to the city council of building a message board that would spare the famed tree any further damage. “I think most people wondered how many more nails the tree could absorb before we killed it,” says Holter, “so getting the council to buy into the project was fairly easy.”
McCullough and Erager, both freshmen at Wayzata High School, completed the project as a component of their Girl Scouts Silver Award, the highest award to be earned as a Girl Scout Cadet. With the help of family, some willing neighbors, and supplies donated by Home Depot, the girls worked tirelessly last summer to make it the idea a reality. “It was a good opportunity to find out which power tools their families had,” says Caroline’s mother, Pam, with a laugh.
The result is a 7-foot-tall message board complete with roofing and an insulated glass window. Caroline says nailing down a design was a challenge, especially coming into the project with a limited knowledge of woodworking. “The adults would talk about what they wanted to do, but Nicole and I wanted to be involved in making the decisions,” she says.
Due to the board’s prime location at the entrance into Medicine Lake, the girls’ hard work didn’t go unseen for long. Caroline says, “I know people noticed it right away because you can see it clearly coming into the city.”