Boy Scout Ian Coward is the definitive proof that perseverance pays off and he has the Eagle Scout Project to prove it.

This teenager and his family uprooted from California just over a year ago. Ian was already on his way with a project that would earn him the Eagle Award in his hometown of Whittier, California.

As he and his mother, Carolyn, explained, the project was to set up vegetable beds at his high school. The Cowards had delivered the lumber to the site and Ian was ready to start. It was in 2019.

“One day he went to school and the boxes were put together without him,” Carolyn said. “Someone thought he was doing her a favor. He must have come up with another idea.

Ian proposed Plan B, which involved creating a path for a botanical garden. Then the family got a call that left them months behind. COVID was closing the school and therefore no work could be done on this botanical garden project since it was on school property. This idea had to be boxed. We were now in February 2020.

“Then we decided to move to Maryville,” Carolyn said. It was September 2020. Ian found a local Boy Scout troop to join, Troop 88, but he was back to square one with his Eagle Project and time was running out. Boy Scouts require a member to complete their Eagle requirements before their 18th birthday; that left Ian less than a year.

Ian asked his Scout Leader for help with ideas. He said he turned it down due to the time factor, but then chose one that sparked his interest: building duck boxes for Fort Loudoun State Park.

From there he was out of the gates, acquiring wood, the necessary tools, and a good set of blueprints. Boy Scouts helped him build the 3-foot-tall nesting boxes that will be used by wood ducks in the state park. In all, Ian made eight of the cedar boxes. He also had to make shields against the metal creatures that would keep snakes and raccoons out so that the duck eggs were safe.

Wood was and still is very expensive, but Ian was able to obtain enough wood for the eight boxes. The wood had to be cut and then dried. It took Ian weeks to get the boxes ready for installation.

All eight are now ready for tenants. Ian placed shavings in the boxes to make the nest. The boxes will need to be cleaned every year.

September 8th was the day Ian completed all of the details of this Eagle Project and got final approval from the Boy Scouts Review Committee. Its official ceremony is still in preparation.

“We had never even heard of duck boxes,” Carolyn said.

Wooden structures are intended for wood ducks, which are nesting ducks in cavities. They will often build in natural tree cavities and nesting boxes. Birdhouses can also attract tawny owls and other birds.

Ian said he enjoyed the project, even though it was stressful due to its time constraints. He is an elder at Maryville High School. His troop meets at the Presbyterian Church of New Providence.

This family has been involved in Scouting since Ian was a Cub. Carolyn and her husband, Neil, were Boy Scout leaders at one point.

During his scouting trip, Ian won 49 badges. He also attended the World Jamboree a few years ago. That and an adventure camp are two of his favorite scouting memories.

It was difficult, Ian said, to find an Eagle project after moving here. He said scouts in California often took it upon themselves to build free libraries, paint projects, or build flower beds. Duck boxes were definitely a novel idea, he said.

Ian was to document this entire trip with photos and construction details. When it was all over, this Scout had spent 187 hours giving Fort Loudoun State Park these large, sturdy birdhouses. They are placed on poles about 5 to 6 feet from the ground.

The third time is the charm, he said, since it was technically the third Eagle Scout project that Ian had started.

Both mother and son heaved a sigh of relief.

Source link