By Vanessa Stevens
On Saturday April 20, Southington’s Boy Scout Troop #32 will leave Niantic at 8 am for a work trip to Great Gull Island on Long Island, NY. The 9 mile journey, led by thirteen year scout leader Dan Greer, will start and end on a 42’ steam boat towards the eastern end of Long Island Sound.
Great Gull Island is an old World War 1 Army fort with rocky beaches that are overgrown with the invasive plant known as bittersweet, which the boys will be removing to make room for an endangered species of water bird called the Common and Roseate Terns that nest on its shores. Some are more than 1300 pairs, the largest nesting concentration of this endangered species in the Western Hemisphere.
Both species head north from South America to North America and to Great Gull Island and further points north in April through May to nest, and head back to South America again by the end of September.
The boys are excited about this trip, which will earn approximately 6 to 7 service project hours towards their conservation badges. “We are expected to give an honest effort at clearing the beaches,” Greer said. “The trip will be fun, however, the boys must understand the expectations.”
Certain ranks in scouting require a minimum number of service project hours.
For instance; a Second Class Scout needs a service project that entails a minimum of one hour. Star and Life rank scouts need service projects with a minimum of six hours for both ranks. An Eagle Scout has his Eagle Scout Leadership Service Project that has no actual minimum or maximum required hours. All it needs is the amount of hours needed to prove leadership to direct his volunteers to carry out his planned project.
Such hours may be done at their church or a local park.
All they need to do is to ask their Scoutmaster for the approval.
Scouts enjoy the time they spend outdoors, whether camping for the weekend or summer camp.
For the Great Gull Island Project, traveling over the Long Island Sound would be the only concern, but Greer’s got that covered.
“We always have more than the required adult leaders on any event or outing,” Greer said.
From giving back through food drives in early November to helping out with the environment so nature can survive for many generations to come, Dan feels this is important for the scouts to learn.
He added, “More acts like these would make our communities and the world a greater place today.”