For one night at least, the book on Joseph Gonsalves was about gratitude.
Gonsalves, 16, a member of Boy Scout Troop 32 in Foxboro, was recognized Tuesday night by selectmen, who presented him with an official citation for planning and constructing a unique trail at the Lane Property as his Eagle Scout project.
Completed in late 2017, the so-called Story Book Trail features a succession of posts roughly 200 feet apart, each displaying a different page from a book. By the time hikers finish the half-mile trail they also finish the story.
A sign posted by Gonsalves at the Lane Property trailhead introduces participants to the storybook experience:
“Reading can be like taking on an imaginary journey. With the Story Book Trail you can combine a great book with a venture into the great outdoors. My hope for this trail is to encourage families to get outside, enjoy a walk on the trail, improve their health and create a love for reading.”
Books featured on the trail are customarily changed out every few months.
Partly as a result of his work on the project, Gonsalves, 16, was recently awarded his Eagle Badge during a ceremonial court of honor held at the South Foxboro Community Center. Along the way he accumulated 39 merit badges, he told selectmen Tuesday night.
Accompanied by his parents, Paul and Connie Gonsalves of Margaret Road, the new Eagle Scout accepted congratulations from board members during a brief presentation.
“May this recognition express our appreciation for the many hours spent envisioning the Story Book Trail and planning for the future enjoyment of all who visit the Lane Property,” selectmen Chairman Mark Elfman said, reading from the citation.
Selectman Chris Mitchell, whose long association with scouting included serving as scoutmaster of Troop 32, congratulated both Gonsalves and his parents for the family accomplishment.
“I know from being a parent that Mom and Dad have a lot to do with [the success of their children in scouting],” Mitchell said.
Gonsalves is not the first scout from Troop 32 who found inspiration for their Eagle project at the Lane Property in recent years. Brothers Daniel and Michael Gawronski of Foxboro also completed improvements at the local conservation preserve — the former constructing a trail head kiosk at the Lane Property nature center and the latter installing a handicapped accessible trail bridge.
In addition, Gonsalves’ older brother, Matthew Gonsalves, is an Eagle Scout with Troop 32. His Eagle project involved replacing 50 worn-out American flags and flagpoles that had been placed around the Town Common during holidays for decades.
The 3-by-5-foot flags are traditionally posted around the Common and streets leading to the rotary on 13 designated flag holidays, including the Fourth of July and Memorial Day. Flags are put up and removed by scouts and other volunteers.