Nature’s smaller creatures a big deal for Eagle Scout candidate

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Reeds Road Principal William Zipparo with Eagle Scout candidate Aaron Zimmermann at a May 21 school board meeting.

GALLOWAY – On his way to becoming an Eagle Scout, Aaron Zimmermann isn’t forgetting some of the smaller creatures.

The Life Scout in Troop 26 – son of Elizabeth and Paul Zimmermann of Galloway – is proposing to place nest boxes, a bat box, a log for turtles and a lily pad for frogs in Mr. B’s Outdoor Classroom at Galloway Township Middle School.

His proposal at the May 21 school board meeting inspired board members to ad the project to its agenda and unanimously approve it.

A Cedar Creek High School senior enrolled in the environmental sciences program, Zimmermann said also plans to place plants, benches and a depth gauge in the area – a retention basin located near the entrance of the middle school by the athletic fields where it is also accessible to Reeds Road and Roland Rogers elementary schools.

The "backyard" was created in honor of the late Guy Buckelew, who taught sixth grade at Reeds Road for 14 years.

"The reason for the project would be to create new features for birds, bats, aquatic species and insects," Zimmerman said. "These changes will increase the biodiversity of the area and give the students and teachers more species to discover and learn about."

He said the nest boxes would attract more bird species - bluebirds, tree swallows, house wrens, chickadees and titmice.

Adding hibiscus, butterfly bush and other plants, he said, could increase the variety of insects.

"The strategic placement of three benches around the pond would allow students to make observations of the many species and the natural beauty of the area," Zimmerman told the board. "A depth gauge could be installed within sight of the dock, and can be used to monitor how water level changes with seasons, after a storm or drought, etc."

A student in Debra Sommers’ science class when he attended GTMS, he’s maintained his contact with her.

"We’re still in touch," Zimmermann said Tuesday, June 26. "I talked to her about doing an Eagle project and this project came out of that conversation."

Sommers and Reeds Road Principal William Zipparo are representing the school district as Zimmermann proceeds with his work.

"I’ve been getting approvals and donations," Zimmermann said. "It shouldn’t cost too much – about $300 total."

The Eagle candidate said he expects work to start next week.

"It’s going to take multiple months," Zimmermann said. "We’ll do it in phases. There’s a lot of planning involved. And we’ll be replacing plants, so there’s the step of taking out plants that are in there."

The project will be finished sometime in November, he said.

"It’s definitely going to take all summer," Zimmermann said.

He said he expects his Boy Scout council representative to sign off on the project Friday, June 29.

"Then I can start finding out when my fellow Scouts are available," Zimmermann said. "I’ll schedule work accordingly."

A major part of Eagle Scout projects is managing others – not simply doing the work.

"We’re going to have plenty for everyone," Zimmermann said. "And it should be a lot of fun too."


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