Chapter and Eagle Scouts Work to Connect People with Nature
Mount Diablo Audubon Society (Walnut Creek, CA)
Mount Diablo Audubon Society’s (MDAS) "Connecting People with Nature” program provides Eagle Scouts with conservation projects that benefit communities in Contra Costa County, California. Chapter leaders provide the Scouts with education on native bees, bluebirds, wood ducks, barn owls and more, and train them in construction and installation of structures to house all of the above. The nesting structures are constructed using repurposed materials donated from various sources – so the Scouts also learn to be creative and resourceful and to collaborate with a variety of people. Upon completion of a project, the Scouts are invited to give slide presentations on their projects at Chapter meetings, and they earn an Eagle Scout Badge.
Just for Ducks enhances Wood Duck populations along urban creeks so people can enjoy watching them. Using a tested nest box design provided by the California Waterfowl Association, Scouts have constructed 33 boxes to date, with 5 boxes slated for installation this year.
The Scouts have installed 14 barn owl boxes, one of which resides at a pesticide-free, public garden where the owls will help to control gopher, mice and rat populations. The garden box doubles as a teaching tool for the garden’s Integrated Pest Management class that teaches local residents how to effectively manage rodent pests. One pair of owls with chicks may consume as many as 1000 rodents by the time the chicks leave the nest.
Learning that bees are responsible for every 3rd bite of food, the Scouts embarked on native bee block construction. The block design comes from Audubon California and consists of a piece of untreated wood drilled with different-sized holes that provide nest sites for various species of cavity nesting native bees. The Scouts have installed 8 so far this year. Scouts are also responsible for providing recipients of bee blocks with a native bee educational program. There are 1,600 species of native bees in California responsible for pollinating flowering plants. The educational program is important because most people have only noticed two or thee species of native bees in their garden with 1,597 species of native bees remaining undetected.
MDAS and the Scouts have also collaborated on bat house construction and installation. The latest house will be installed under a bridge near an outdoor concert venue where people will be eager to enjoy concerts without being pestered by mosquitoes.
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