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Eagle Scout Project

Dec 16th, 2016 | Category: Announcements, MDC News

Eagle Scout Project Builds Centerpiece For MDC Butterfly Garden

By Lisa D. Mickey

John Clayton built a pergola over the walkway through the garden

The butterfly garden at the Marine Discovery Center just got a new centerpiece, thanks to an Eagle Scout project by a local teen.

Deland High School junior John Clayton built a pergola over the walkway through the garden for his community project to become an Eagle Scout. The eight-foot tall pressed and treated pine-wood structure covers 12 feet and is positioned in the center of the garden built last year by the Men’s Garden Club of New Smyrna Beach-Edgewater.

“We’ve had several projects with the Boy Scouts over the years and every one of them has provided a long-lasting impact for our center,” said MDC Executive Director Chad Truxall. “John Clayton’s contribution will provide a visual interest in the garden and some shade for our guests.”

Clayton first inquired about building a project at the center in August 2015, as work was being completed in the newly installed butterfly garden. The teen was looking for a way to contribute to the center’s needs.

At first, he considered building a kayak trail through the mangrove trees behind the center, but the permitting challenges in the estuarine waters significantly slowed Clayton’s progress. Instead, he decided to build a structure on land adjacent to the center as a focal point to the butterfly garden.

“I’m relieved,” said Clayton, 17, when asked how he feels about the finished product. “Everything went as I planned and I think it looks good.”

Clayton will become an Eagle Scout for his work as soon as he “finishes the paperwork” this month.” His pergola could potentially be planted with native vines that offer food for butterflies in the garden.

The butterfly garden features some 20 different plant species and a safe habitat and food source for caterpillars and butterflies.

Some plants in the garden provide food for caterpillars so they can grow and become butterflies. Other plants serve as a source of nectar for the adult butterflies.

Creating his Eagle Scout project for a butterfly garden seemed only fitting for Clayton, who entered scouting at age 7. Now, as a teen and nearing the end of his scouting experience, the soon-to-be Eagle Scout said the pergola is a proud accomplishment after a decade of learning how to contribute to his community.

“I’ve been a part of the Boy Scout program for a long time, so the Eagle Scout Award is a good way to end it,” he said. “It embodies what scouting is all about.”

Contact: Lisa Mickey at lisa@marinediscoverycenter.org