In Scouting, we use every education tool imaginable to help our young people grow to be great community supporters, strong leaders and friends to the environment.
I can’t remember the last time one of our Scouts captured all those values by helping bats.
That’s right, I said bats. And Scout Zane Williams from Troop 63 in St. Johns, Pennsylvania in the Minsi Trails Council is behind this idea.
Scout Zane Williams, right, 17, and Kevin Wenner, of the Pennsylvania Game Commission, finish installing a bat box at a local farm.
Zane William’s Eagle project is to provide habitats for homeless bats. The bat houses have screened windows and good ventilation.
They also stand about 10 feet off the ground – appropriate housing for bats.
Zane brainstormed this project with the help of a biologist from the Pennsylvania Game Commission. (That’s Pennsylvania, not Transylvania.)
And this isn’t Zane’s first wildlife project. He also worked with the state gaming commission to help band Canadian geese.
Zane learned a great deal about financing, assembling labor and project management to build the bat homes. He enlisted volunteers to build the bat boxes and lined up material donations from hardware stores and others, including lumber, caulk, posts and concrete. It was also a great opportunity for him to see how the gaming commission works behind the scenes.
He also learned a lot about bats.
Zane hopes these new bat shelters will help protect these animals from disease, like white-nose syndrome, which can quickly wipe out bat colonies.
I’d like to congratulate Zane on his creative and project management skills. He took a critical environmental need and turned it into a positive solution for an important member of his community’s ecosystem. It’s this kind of creative thinking that we need from all of our young people to benefit the environment, as well as building their own knowledge of real-life solutions.
How do you encourage young people to take on unusual projects to learn skills that will serve them well later in life? Building bat houses isn’t the first thing that comes to mind, but innovative thinking like Zane’s certainly sets a high bar for what others might come up with.