Eagle Project Benefits Nature Lovers

I wanted to do something unique for my Eagle Scout service project. After doing some research, I met Ranger Kyle Icke at Louis A. Stelzer County Park in Lakeside, who wanted to replace a small outdated reptile display pen. Specific changes were to maximize the size of the raised bed, raise the roof to eight feet and enclose it to keep out birds and other animals that want to eat the reptiles, add a deeper, larger pond for them to soak in, and incorporate some of the existing native trees and shrubs.

This project was challenging in many ways. First, there were no ready-made building plans. We did everything from scratch. Fortunately, my Eagle project coach, Mr. Matt Muckerman, worked with me to incorporate the many design changes that cropped up as I worked with Ranger Kyle. Second, the raised bed was surrounded by asphalt from the parking lot and we didn’t know if the asphalt extended beneath it until we started digging.

Third, although we put together a plan to build a dome-shaped roof, we didn’t know if it would hold its shape or be strong enough. Finally, one of the existing trees poked through the roof mesh, so the new roof would have to accommodate it.

Starting on March 31 and finishing on April 22, this project was a team effort that took 14 work days, 33 youth and adult workers, and 478 hours to complete. I want to thank Ranger Kyle, Mr. Muckerman, the youth and adults from my troop—663—my friends and family, and scouts from Troop 685 for helping me finish this project, plus all of the generous donors. Without you, this project could not have been completed. Thank you!

The result is a new 8.5’ x 16.5’ pen, more than double the size of the original. It is now a showpiece for the park. Visible from Wildcat Canyon Road, curious drivers stop by to see what it is and stay to enjoy this lovely park. Other rangers have expressed interest in building similar pens at their parks, so I am in the process of creating a set of plans for them.

The rangers are happy with the eight-foot roof, which allows them to walk around without stooping. The reptiles are happy since they have a lot more room, foliage, and hiding places. Finally, visitors to the park enjoy a fascinating glimpse of the reptiles basking in the sun, digging a hole to rest in, or soaking in the pond. I hope you have a chance to visit Stelzer Park and enjoy picnicking, hiking, and camping at one of our most beautiful county parks.

Kit Williams, Troop 663 Eagle Scout

 

Kit earned the rank of Eagle Scout on June 22. He has been a Scripps Ranch resident since birth and will attend Cal Poly Pomona in the fall, majoring in Business Administration.