Boy Scout Troop 62, Goshen, NY
For my Eagle Scout project, I chose to lead the construction of an outdoor learning area (top left image) along the Wallkill River in the Wallkill River National Wildlife Refuge. I decided to include 6 log benches, a wheelchair accessible picnic table/lecture table, several bird houses, and native plantings along a river trail.
I began with the benches, as they would be the main structure of the project. Mill manager, Dave Washburn volunteered his time and resources to cut 3 logs into 6 benches. He also helped me and a few scouts and volunteers cut the stumps for the bases. Next, I looked for donations of fill and pea gravel. L.K. Adamis's Mulch Mart readily volunteered and made the delivery. Jessie Mihatov, refuge Maintenance Worker, used the backhoe to level the site with the fill. In addition, I was given generous donations from Home Depot and Lowes to purchase materials that would be needed. Meanwhile, the scouts came over to my house to mix cement to make the bench anchors. They also sanded and "polyurethaned" the bench tops.
On the first day of installation, Scouts and volunteers dug 7 three foot holes, placed the bench anchors in them, then stamped the soil down. They used large rocks to border the site and hold in the fill and pea gravel. They drilled eyehooks into the benches, glued dowels into the bases, then set up the benches on the site. The anchors were then attached to the eyehooks. My grandmother, Jean Cramer, weed-whacked areas for the river pathway and native plants. Scouts then dug holes and planted native plants along the pathway. Finally, Ed Flynn brought over the picnic table, which he made specifically for the site.
On the second day of installation, Scouts and volunteers used wheelbarrows and rakes to spread the pea gravel around the benches. They also finished more plantings and hung several bird, hawk and butterfly houses. Finally, we used the extra pea gravel to make a trail leading to an area good for river access. On July 6th, 2012 we had a dedication to officially open the site!