FAIRFIELD — Owen Weber, a junior at Fairfield Ludlowe High School and Troop 82 Boy Scout, completed his Eagle Scout project, which supports an ongoing effort to increase the population of grassland birds in our area.

A massive undertaking, Owen’s project is benefitting grassland birds and the community. The multi-faceted project involved installing a fence and building and placing bird boxes for a Connecticut Audubon Society property in Westport.

After intensive planning, Owen began implementing his project on June 29-30, 2019 by leading a team of 15-plus scouts, parents, friends and neighbors in putting up a 450-foot split rail fence on Sasco Creek Road. The benefit of the fence is two-fold. It replaces an unsightly edge near the road that had been overtaken by invasive weeds and is therefore aesthetically pleasing and, more importantly, it provides a perch for birds which helps them with feeding. With temperatures in the 90s, digging 45 holes for the posts and laying the beams in place took well over 100 man-hours and was no small job.

In November, after securing and prepping the materials, Owen then completed the next step in his project. He took all the supplies needed to a Troop 82 meeting where he demonstrated the building of one bird box, which will be used by birds for nesting. He then instructed and led other scouts in building five more to be placed on the same Audubon property as the fence.

Finally, the last week of November, Owen returned to the same property with all the bird boxes, poles and baffles that he constructed and installed them strategically throughout the field which his fence now defines.

When asked how he feels having completed a project of such magnitude, Owen replied, “I’m happy that I could convert a seemingly abandoned field into something more meaningful.”

Charles Stebbins, CT Audubon Society Sanctuary Committee chair, having watched the progression of the project from the start, was justifiably impressed. “Perching (fence) and nesting (boxes) will greatly enhance the habitat for important grassland birds like the blue birds, tree swallows, goldfinch and kingbirds. Owen is every inch a doer, a leader and a deserving Eagle Scout! Thank you, Owen and team!”

Owen thanked Charles Stebbins, who donated the fence posts and beams, West End Lumber, which donated wood for the bird boxes, and The Pantry, which donated lunch to the crew who built the fence in July.

The Eagle Project is the opportunity for a Boy Scout to demonstrate leadership of others while performing a project for the benefit of his community. It is the culmination of the Scout's leadership training and requires a significant effort on his or her part. The project must benefit an organization other than the Boy Scouts of America and cannot be performed for an individual or a business or be commercial in nature. Completing an Eagle Project is a requirement in order for Scouts to attain the Eagle Scout rank.

Boy Scout Troop 82 is a nationally recognized member of Boy Scouts of America and has been an active Boy Scout Troop since the 1920's at The First Church Congregational in Fairfield. Troop 82 meets every Thursday at 7:30 p.m. at The First Congregational Church on Beach Road in Fairfield and holds an open enrollment policy.