Conal's Eagle Scout Service Project
My name is Conal B. Herron, I am an Eagle Scout candidate (Life Scout) from Boy Scout Troop 418, which is sponsored by American Legion Post 350 in Nanticoke, PA. I am also a high school student with Commonwealth Connections Academy, a public cyber charter school.
I’ve been working on my Eagle project for Boy Scouts, and I’m really excited about it! Let me tell you some more.
What I’m doing:
My Eagle Service Project is to build two (or three if I'm able to purchase more supplies) handicapped-accessible Monarch butterfly Waystation raised gardens which will also include perennial nectar plants for other pollinators. The gardens will be built along the Susquehanna Warrior Trail; a Rails-to-Trails site in Plymouth Township. This project will direcly benefit the non-profit Susquehanna Warrior Trail Council.
Why I’m doing this:
Primarily, I’m building the gardens to help re-establish Monarch butterflies in the area. The Monarch butterfly was put on a petition to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for Endangered Status in March 2015. Their populations have been devastated from loss of farmland, loss of milkweed plants, and use of the herbicide; glycophosate (brand name Roundup).
If we compared Monarch loss to the human population, "it would be like losing every living person in the United States except those in Florida and Ohio".
I’m making these gardens handicapped-accessible for people like my late grandpa (John M. Milko) who have not lost their love for gardening though they may have lost some of their mobility.
Whom am I doing this for, and where?
The Monarch butterflies, other butterflies, and other pollinators; to help re-establish their struggling populations in our area.
I’m also doing this for the Susquehanna Warrior Trail Council, a non-profit Rails-to-Trails organization. The Susquehanna Warrior Trail Council is the beneficiary of this project.
The gardens will be situated in West Nanticoke/Plymouth Twp. along the (also handicapped-accessible) trail for easy access by people who use wheelchairs, walkers, or scooters.
When am I doing this?
Right now! One of my obstacles is time. I need to finish these gardens by the end of July at the very latest. August will be too late for planting many of the plants which the pollinators will need to breed and feed. We will be working on constructing the boxes on July 25th.
My biggest obstacle so far is getting the landscaping timbers for the gardens. The best animal, vegetable, and people-safe timbers to use are pressure treated with copper azole (CA), or micronized copper azole (MCA). I do not wish to use the inexpensive but very toxic used railroad ties soaked in creosote, because that would defeat the entire purpose of these gardens; to have a healthy area for people, and healthy plants for the pollinators to breed and feed from.
My planned gardens would be 12’ long, 6' wide, and about 2' high. Ideally, I would like to use 6” x 6” x 12’ timbers. Since these are the “safe” kind, they are more expensive at 39.27 each. I will need twenty-seven for the 2’ x 6’ x 12’ gardens.
This is an extensive project, and I'm hoping it will also serve as a Hornaday project. The Hornaday award is earned by scouts who make a significant difference in areas of conservation, preservation, wildlife management, and the like. As the Monarch butterfly population has decreased over 90% in the past 20 years, these gardens, which will include a variety of milkweed and nectar plants are crucial to maintain breeding and feeding habitats for them.
This is a list of the materials, tools, and supplies I will need to build two gardens.
Item Needed Number Needed Details
Landscaping Ties 27 6” x 6” x 12’, CA pressure treated
Drill bit 1 5/16” x 12”
Nails 80 3/8” x 12”
Top Soil 1 11 cu. yd.
Common Milkweed 20 Plants
Butterfly bush 20 Plants
Swamp Milkweed 20 Plants
Poke Milkweed 20 Plants
Cardinal Flower 1 pack of 40 seeds or 20 plants
Butterfly weed 1 pack of 100 seeds or 30 plants
Indian Blanket 1 ½ lb. bag or 10 plants
Purple coneflower 1 ¼ lb. bag or 20 plants
Joe-Pye weed 1 pack of 200 seeds or 40 plants
Autumn sage 1 ¼ lb. bag or 30 plants
Zinnia, dahlia mix 1 ¼ lb. bag or 30 plants
Scabiosa, Pincushion Flower 1 pack of 50 seeds or 30 plants
Tithonia Torch 1 pack of 50 seeds or 25 plants
Sweet William 1 pack of 40 seeds or 20 plants
I have been in Boy Scouting since First Grade when I joined as a Tiger Cub. I have always had an interest in the preservation and conservation of wildlife and the environment. I hope to positively impact the environment by building these gardens.
I have consulted with my Disabilities Awareness Merit Badge counselor, MonarchWatch.org, and earned the following Merit Badges toward the Hornaday Award (only five are required for the award):
Energy, Environmental Science, Forestry, Soil and Water Conservation, Fishing, Fly-Fishing, Geology, Landscape Architecture, Mammal Study, Nature, Nuclear Science, and Weather
In addition to these, I will be earning the following at camp this year: Fish and Wildlife Management, and Insect Study.
How can you help?
I’m asking all of you, to please help me in any way you can with donations. Even small donations can add up, and I will accept any amount.
I will be keeping exact records of all donations, and I will post pictures of the materials, and supplies, and work as it progresses on the gardens, so you will know that I spent the money on supplies for the garden. I will also post updates here.
I am very grateful for any assistance you can provide in facilitating my Eagle/Hornaday Project to benefit the Susquehanna Warrior Trail Council, and to aid the disappearing Monarchs and other pollinators by providing them with safe breeding and feeding habitats.
Your help and thoughtfulness are deeply appreciated.
Thank you for your time.
Conal B. Herron
Eagle Scout Candidate
Quote from http://www.xerces.org/after-90-percent-decline-federal-protection-sought-for-monarch-butterfly-2/
CONAL IS NOW AN EAGLE SCOUT!
Thanks to each and every one of you for helping to make this happen.
We were dismayed to discover that one of the cardinal flower plants which was in full bloom when we saw it last week, was taken from the upper garden along the trail.
Also, in the same garden, another cardinal flower plant was damaged; the blooms had been removed.
These cardinal flowers were planted to provide a nectar source for the monarch butterflies. It is very important that they have the nectar so they can feed before making the flight south for the winter.
My son and his troop, and their families and friends worked very hard on this project, and everything we used totaled about $2000. He is so disheartened over this.
We were thrilled to find Monarch caterpillars on two of the milkweeds in Garden B. Some of the plants were stripped of their leaves, and the caterpillars are growing ever larger.
Please, if anyone would like to visit the gardens, do not remove the plants which have been stripped of leaves. The leaves were eaten by the caterpillars, as they should be. The plants are mainly perennials and will be back next year.
We filled some 5 gal. jugs with water, and drove over to water.