Eagle Scout Service Projects

Eagle Scouts

We recognize the following individuals for their invaluable assistance and dedicated support in furthering the mission of the Wallkill River National Wildlife Refuge. Their efforts are deeply appreciated by the refuge staff and will be enjoyed by thousands of refuge visitors.

  • Brendan Ronzoni

    Brendan Ronzoni Eagle Scout Project

    Boy Scout Troop 62, Goshen, NY 

    For my Eagle Scout project I planned and lead the construction of four benches and the refinishing of two benches along the Appalachian Trail at the Wallkill River National Wildlife Refuge.  I worked in conjunction with Wildlife Specialist Chelsea Utter to find four locations in the refuge that would benefit from new benches.  These included the boat launch area, the Owen’s Station Nature Store Office, the trail leading out to Liberty Loop, and in front of the pond at the south side of the Liberty Loop trail.   

    After consulting with Mrs. Utter about the plans and lengths of the benches, I created my material list.  I was able to get much of the lumber and hardware by way of a generous donation from Lowes in Middletown.  In the early spring I directed the cutting of the boards and drilling locations of the holes from adult volunteers at my house.  After creating hardware kits and instructions for each bench I had Scouts and other volunteers come back to my house to construct the benches.   

    On the installation days, we trucked the new benches, equipment, and the instructions that I had created, to each location. I set up a central depot with first aid equipment and refreshments that was convenient for the helpers. This depot was manned by my Grandfather, Ray Cramer, who is a Refuge Volunteer.  I was able to go back and forth between the bench sites by bicycle to give assistance.  When needed, I helped the volunteers dig holes for anchors, level the site, install the benches, and put pea gravel down around each bench. In addition to installing the 4 new benches, my teams were able to sand and refinish 2 benches that already existed along the Appalachian Trail.

    Finally, with the help of my Grandmother Jean Cramer, a Refuge Volunteer, we planted native flowers and shrubs that will attract wildlife like birds and butterflies for the bench sitters to enjoy!  I hope that with my benches many people will be able to take a break and enjoy the scenery as they’re hiking, boating, wildlife watching, or just visiting the refuge!

  • Ryan Ronzoni

    Ryan Ronzoni

    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!

  • Michael Griffin

    Michael Griffin - Lynda Griffin.

    Boy Scout Troop 912, Vernon, NJ

    My name is Michael Griffin and I am a boy scout with troop 912. For my Eagle Scout project I built a 100 seat amphitheater (top right image) at the Wallkill River National Wildlife Refuge’s main administrative location of 1547 County Route 565. It can be found next to the outdoor pavilion just off the main path from the parking lot. I chose this project because I wanted something that would be challenging for me to build as well as something that would last a long time. I have always believed in the theory “Go big or go home” with any projects I do. I started fundraising for donations and materials I would need for the project in February. At first I was concerned about how long it would take to get to all of the places I intended to go because of my school hours and regular businesses hours. Then, just as I was about to start fundraising, there was fire at my school and we were closed for 7 days. That is when I got most of my fundraising done by going business to business and sending out emails and letters. Then we started construction at the beginning of May with the goal to finish the construction by the end of June. We worked every weekend from May to the end of June though intense heat and rain but finished right on schedule. Last but not least we put the finishing details and signs on the project at the end of July. I hope the amphitheater will serve the refuge and the community at large as a place to host educational events and lectures. Especially those events that help educate the public about our wildlife.