Kearns and Sons RS Aesthetics

Eagle Scout project improves bird watching opportunities

Nolan Gardner, of Boy Scout Troop 1115, Florence, stands with Lee Metcalf National Wildlife Refuge Manager Tom Reed on the doorstep of the bird blind that was disassembled, relocated and restored as part of Nolan’s Eagle Scout Project.

By Michael Howell

 

Homeschooler Nolan Gardner, 12, is a member of Boy Scout Troop #1115 in Florence. He has been a Boy Scout for seven years and when it came time to do a project for his Eagle Scout badge he decided that since he liked birds so much, the Lee Metcalf National Wildlife Refuge might be the best place to do some sort of project.

 

He went over to the Refuge with the notion that he might build a birdwatching blind and enhance people’s chances of some good birdwatching from a concealed location. But when he presented the prospect to Refuge Manager Tom Reed, plans took a little different course. Reed showed him an existing bird blind that was in a spot along Pond #10 that had been overgrown by cattails and was basically unusable. It was decided to take what they had and make it usable again.

 

So, Nolan, with a little help from his friends and parents, other scouts and their parents and the Refuge staff, was able to get the old bird blind dismantled, with every piece labeled for re-construction, and re-built on a more suitable site on the same pond where you had a clear view of the pond from inside the blind. It makes a great place to take photographs even in inclement weather. The whole move took about three days to accomplish.

 

You can get to the revamped bird blind by following the Kenai Trail north along the pond to the end where a covered pavilion is located. A short trail leads from the pavilion to the bird blind.

 

Now that he’s met his requirements for the Eagle Scout badge, Nolan’s mom will get to pin the medal on him at a special ceremony sometime in October.

 

Nolan said he really wanted to thank the Stevensville Hardware Store for donated materials.

 

“I especially want to thank the Refuge for allowing it and for helping me out,” said Nolan. “Tom and Bob were really helpful.”

 

Over 240 species of birds have been identified in the Metcalf Refuge. Birders, whether they use the blinds located on the refuge or not, may participate in tracking birds at the refuge by going on the refuge’s web site www.fws.gov/refuge/lee_metcalf. There you can access a tracking site sponsored by Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology and E Bird, a powerful database for observation sharing. Bird Walks are sponsored at the Refuge on the 3rd Saturday of the month from 10 a.m. to 12 noon with Refuge staff and Bitterroot Audubon volunteers to help in identification and some binoculars and spotting scopes available for public use, all for free.

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