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Proudeagle

Eagle Scout Project Proposal Review

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We have a Scout that has prepared their Eagle Scout Proposal (attached with names removed).  There is mixed reviews and wanted to see if anyone on here may have some thoughts.  

The main questions are:

1) Is this a feasible project?

2) Does the Proposal contain the necessary information to show that the project is going to pass the "test"?

 

Thank you as always for your time and wisdom.

ESproposal.pdf

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I do see merit to this project, however, I think it needs to be more clear about the benefits to the beneficiary and why they need it.  The positive environmental impact with the ecosystem should be secondary.

While I understand that food purchases from the beneficiary would be a secondary financial benefit from the service project, the Scout would probably want to think about getting some food donations for the workers afterward, especially if it's been a long day.  Asking people to help, then telling them they'd have to pay for their own food may rub some people the wrong way.

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Main question I would have is who is the beneficiary and is this log pile habitat core to their mission.  How many of these are being constructed?

I also question the purchase of food to support the beneficiary, not sure I've ever seen that in a project before

 

5 hours ago, Proudeagle said:

The main questions are:

1) Is this a feasible project?

2) Does the Proposal contain the necessary information to show that the project is going to pass the "test"?

 

Certainly feasible.  Maybe have the Scout expand on how this supports the beneficiary

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If this proposal were brought before our committee, we would almost certainly ask the scout to add to the scope of the project.  The amount of work to be done doesn't have to be X number of hours, but if a project is too small, how much leadership and organization is being done by the Eagle candidate?

We have a scout who just finished a project similar to this.  He enlarged a deer exclosure (area to keep deer out, so that native species could flourish) and raised the surrounding fencing by a couple feet.  Because the fencing is plastic mesh attached to metal poles, we felt that by itself wouldn't have been enough.  The scout also constructed a new gate to restrict vehicular access, and planted more native trees and grasses in the exclosure.  The addition of the gate also made it clear that the beneficiary (parks department) was gaining something new from the project, rather than just having a re-do of an existing (albeit not-quite-functioning) area.

Is this in a public area?  Would it be beneficial to add a kiosk or other type of structure that tells guests what the purpose of the log pile is?  Maybe a bench for sitting to observe what's going on in the area?  In my very limited experience, it seems like adding either an instructional component or something that is useful to either the general public or the group who benefits, removes any worries that the project won't be approved.  Might be important if the scout doesn't have time for a lot of back and forth with the council before he turns 18.

Edited by swilliams
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This seems like a fine project to me.  I would ask about the amount of work necessary, is it enough to have shown leadership?  I wouldn't assume it isn't sufficient. It's just that I, and probably most folks, am not familiar enough with it to make my own comparison to other projects.  If his estimate makes the scope seem small, it would seem easy to expand it to more than just one pile.

I do think an educational display to go along with it would be a very good enhancement and would strongly encourage that even if there wasn't a concern about it "passing."

I did a quick search for habitat piles and eagle scout projects, his wouldn't be the first.  

https://mucc.org/upcoming-wildlife-habitat-opportunity-gourdneck-sga/

The more I read about habitat piles in general, the more I liked the idea.

I also found this site, which I had never seen before and am going to share with my troop. https://eagleprojects.boyslife.org/tag/wildlife-projects/

This proposed project seems consistent with some of the projects showcased and with a project one of our scouts just finished that was working with the local metroparks on building and placing a number of kestrel boxes.

If you think there's going to be skepticism, maybe include examples like these as extra exhibits attached to the proposal.

Good luck to him.

 

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looking at the project phases, I would suggest more on the phases of the "execute the project", not the phases of the eagle application. At the very least encourage the scout to plan out these phases so the "day" of the project he isn't trying to figure out "what comes next" and "who is doing what". For example: 

At minimum for any project:

Phases could be.

1. Prep area

2.  Stage 1 of project (detail)

3. Stage 2...

4. Stage 3...

5. Cleanup area

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This is a great idea and with a little more context, such as including an educational component, it could be a great project. Insect biomass is plummeting. There is a valid conservation message in a project like this and if some education were provided about what it is, why it's needed, and how it could be replicated on a smaller scale elsewhere, it could be a really cool feature of a local park. 

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1 hour ago, yknot said:

This is a great idea and with a little more context, such as including an educational component, it could be a great project. Insect biomass is plummeting. There is a valid conservation message in a project like this and if some education were provided about what it is, why it's needed, and how it could be replicated on a smaller scale elsewhere, it could be a really cool feature of a local park. 

With the additions suggested by @yknot and some additional research into the underlying problems, this could shape up to be a good William T. Hornaday project as well.

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I think it's a good idea, but there are a lot of details missing.

A 12' x 3' x 4' pile of wood is large and heavy. As in, really heavy. A large stack of logs is rather dangerous (see Texas A&M bonfire). I've had piles a few feet high start rolling on me. The proposal says wooden poles will be used rather than a frame. What does that mean? Will they be pounded into the ground? The proposal says the wooden poles are 4-6" in diameter. These aren't poles so much as fence posts, so pounding won't work. Post hole diggers? Manual or powered? In the photo it looks like there is other stuff in and around the log pile. Grass and dirt and just stuff growing. Where is all that coming from and how much time and effort will it take to get it? How much is needed? Twelve year old scouts typically don't have the strength to dig up much dirt and you can't count on adults doing all this work, so more details on the manpower? The proposal says the tools required are "mallets, shovels and a log splitter" and that the beneficiary will supply all of it. Why use a log splitter? Especially on long logs? And what are mallets going to be used for? How many shovels? And what about the rope? That's listed as a supply. Is it used to tie the logs together? Or is that part of moving the logs (timber hitch!). 

Okay, I'm done being cruel and likely would have been much gentler if a scout had presented this to me. To me, this project looks like a good idea but this scout hasn't thought it through. That's where the leadership comes in. Right now, if he does exactly what this proposal says to prepare for the project, he's likely going to flail and waste a lot of time before some adults, that are getting tired of waiting, step in and start telling people what to do. That's a disservice to everyone. I think the only thing this scout needs is some guidance. Someone has to start asking all of these questions. As he answers them he will come up with a much better plan and will be much better prepared.

I know that the submitted plan is not supposed to have all the details but leadership requires being prepared. It's not even that I ever expect a scout to completely follow the plan he or she proposes. However, by forcing the scout to think through all the details they will be better prepared to handle exceptions when they undoubtedly show up.

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Where is the wood (the logs) coming from?  Is it available on the property from fallen trees?   Otherwise, what about all the "don't move firewood" admonitions, to slow the spread of invasive bugs.

Informational signage seens more useful that a really fancy enclosure -- though I doubt the insects and chipmunks will care about either.   And what is the purpose of the fancy enclosure anyway?  So that people will understand that it is a deliberate wood pile, and not simply leftover logs that someone forgot to carry away?  To keep kids from climing on it?

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The requirement is to "plan, develop and lead".

What you sent requires a lot more of each of those words. Do you have a coach?

To me it reads that you are going to be given logs and stack them in a rectangle.   You should also review the guide to safe scouting sweet 16 of bsa safety as there are many elements of your project that apply.  

Step back and take it block by block and you can possibly make this viable.

 

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The proposal needs more work but the basic idea is good. Just to advocate for this poor scout who is unknowingly getting his proposal vetted by some scouters who are probably pretty intimidating in their collective expertise, he does state that all wood is already on site so he has at least thought about that aspect even if he didn't articulate why that's a concern. He also states that he is using 3 foot long logs not 12 foot. He absolutely should outline his work plan but I dug plenty of post holes as a kid so I"m not sure that aspect is far fetched. I've also helped build structures like this as planting beds or obstacles on a competition course so I get why he needs mallets. The photos he provided are examples not actual, so it's not clear if that's dirt and vegetation he needs to install to stabilize the project or if that is simply organic decomposition and growth occurring over time at an existing project.

I've seen several Eagle projects where I'm not sure anyone reviewed GTSS and Sweet 16 so  that reminder is a good one.  

 

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From what I could find just looking up this type of project on google, calling things like this a "pile" isn't really doing it justice.  What you are effectively doing is deliberately creating all at once the kind of habitat that would be created over years in the woods.  Ideally, these aren't made by just haphazardly piling up logs and pouring dirt on top to fill in the gaps.  Instead, the scout will need to "craft" a habitat with a combination of hollows and gaps in some spaces, loose leafy dirt filling others, and plenty of air moving through the whole thing.

Quote

Informational signage seens more useful that a really fancy enclosure -- though I doubt the insects and chipmunks will care about either.   And what is the purpose of the fancy enclosure anyway?  So that people will understand that it is a deliberate wood pile, and not simply leftover logs that someone forgot to carry away?  To keep kids from climing on it? 

The enclosure keeps things in a "pile" rather than allowing people and nature to knock or blow things flat over time.  (I'm sure serves to limit liability as well.  Any time you pile up logs basically anywhere, you've created a "kid magnet" with the potential to have shifting logs crush something.)

I'm going to agree with some of the other folks though.  I don't see any particular problem with this project if it's done right.  If the scout is going to collect and organize the assembly of logs, branches, sticks, leaves, dirt and everything else from a variety of sources on the beneficiary's property, dig holes for stablizing poles and then craft the "pile" with care and attention to detail; I think this is a great project.  But I'd probably suggest doing more than one.

Of course, if the beneficiary has equipment and drags all the supplies to the site themselves and the scouts just show up and start throwing things in the pile, I wouldn't consider it sufficient to "demonstrate leadership".

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Idea is good. Execution is the key here. 

*Informational signage, somewhere , for public. Why, how, what. 

*Why did the beneficiary ask for/approve this? Did the Scout approach them?

* We have a brush pile in the back of our Meeting House, in the south end of the Graveyard. Seems to serve the same purpose. We add tree limbs and such to it, groundhogs, rabbits etc, use it. Deer use it.  When it gets too big (define that !), we rent a chipper and grind it up to mulch the trees and shrubs. And the pile is started again, maybe four, five years later.  How is this purpose built "to blueprint" log/brush pile different?

* I like the above comment, is this the ONLY pile being created? 

* As to the money, yeah, feed the workers and , appropriately, the remainder (if any !) goes to the beneficiary. 

* Conservation Project patch?   Messenger of Peace patch?  Hornaday beginning?

 

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"Scout, when you bring your son/daughter to show what you did for an Eagle project; will you be proud of this accomplishment?" 

Will you be able tell him/her how you lead your team in getting this done and how you overcame obstacles?

This is your chance in Scouting to leave a legacy, does this represent the best in you?

Would could you do to make this a project  better, so that every young scout in the troop points to it as the best they have been involved with? 

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