PHOENIX — To earn the coveted rank of "eagle," an Ashland Boy Scout will help develop a park named for blue herons.

PHOENIX — To earn the coveted rank of "eagle," an Ashland Boy Scout will help develop a park named for blue herons.

Family bike rides along the Bear Creek Greenway prompted 13-year-old Tanner Shumway to offer his services in landscaping a large section of a once-barren spot near the heart of Phoenix.

Approved by local Boy Scout officials this week, and city parks commission members last month, Tanner will undertake a project to landscape some 5,000 square feet of the 25-acre Blue Heron Park.

While the project could cost $15,000 or more in materials, he says he's dedicated to seeing the park become "an important part of the community."

"We would ride by here and it was just piles of dirt," Tanner said.

"I wanted to find a project to do that would be something good for the community and there was a lot of work here for someone to do."

Tackling the project as a means to earn the coveted Eagle Scout badge, the highest honor a Boy Scout can attain, Tanner is required to design and manage his portion of the park's development, while coordinating funding, volunteer efforts and obtaining of supplies.

To that end, he is seeking donations of topsoil, tools, plants, trees and cash. And, he said, "lots of people who want to help."

With the city on a tight budget, Parks Commission Chairwoman Pauly Hinesly said community support and volunteer efforts have contributed primarily to development of the space along Bear Creek.

The Rotary Club, the park's largest sponsor, partnered with community members in planting some 200 shrubs and trees in October, the kind of effort Hinesly said had helped develop the park and "given community members a sense of ownership."

"The Rotary Club has really done a lot in getting it going," Hinesly said.

"Obviously the city has no money, but we're glad to be able to get people together to help do the work."

Hinesly, who said she was working on additional donations for the park, said she was excited to see interest in the park increasing.

"We've done some planting, and he's going to pick up where the Rotary Club left off and finish some of the large areas," Hinesly added.

"Were tickled to death. We think it's great what he's going to put in."

While looking out at the park Thursday morning, the teen acknowledged he had a big job ahead of him, but he was upbeat.

"It's a lot of work and it could take a few months, but I'll get it done."

To donate supplies, call Tanner at 488-4917. To sign up for volunteer workdays or to offer supplies for other portions of the park, call Hinesly, 535-4454.

Buffy Pollock is a freelance writer living in Medford. E-mail her at buffypollock@juno.com.