A BL Legacy

The great-grandson of a former Boys’ Life editor spent countless hours identifying and labeling trees at a local nature conservancy as part of his Eagle Scout project last year. Michael VanLiew, Troop 80, Cranford, N.J., performed an inventory of trees in Cranford’s Hanson Park Conservancy, “producing an educational brochure for community use and building a kiosk to display the tree plan of the park.”

Norman Troll Mathiews, Michael’s great-grandfather, worked as an editor at Boys’ Life from 1923 to 1964. Mathiews served as managing editor for the final 20 years of his tenure. Upon his death, he left to the Boy Scouts a then complete set of Boys’ Life bound volumes. He sent them to Irving, Tex., to be placed in the Scout Museum. Mathiews believed his bound volumes to be the only complete collection of Boys’ Life magazines in existence.

VanLiew’s project is only the beginning of improvements to Hanson Park. When more money is raised, other enhancements will include a Woodland Theatre, butterfly meadow, central display garden and complete renovation of the Cranford Canoe Club.

Click here to read more about the Hanson Park Conservancy.


  1. Michael, the countless hours you developed and inspired your team, through leadership and dedication to enlighten the public in labeling the trees in an educational brochure and build a kiosk, not only enhances the beauty of Hanson Park but demonstrates strength of mind beyond your years, insight to exemplify not only the guidance from your dear parents, grandparents and great-grandparents, but demonstrates the very soul of being a scout – CHARACTER! Congratulations on being an Eagle Scout~!

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