Largo residents and visitors will soon benefit from the hard work of three local teens.
The three young men are striving to reach the rank of Eagle Scout, the highest achievement within the Boy Scouts of America program. The rank of Eagle Scout has been bestowed to fewer than 5 percent of all Scouts and includes notables such as Steven Spielberg, Gerald Ford and Hank Aaron.
The Eagle Scout project must be a lasting contribution to the community and is the capstone of the Scouting program. Each Scout is responsible for raising funds or soliciting donations to cover the costs of materials for their projects. Troop members help each other complete the projects.
Michael Bartles, 17, Largo High School
Project: Bartles will be responsible for the design and construction of a footbridge to cross a small creek in the John R. Bonner Nature Park at 14444 143rd St. N. This bridge will allow residents of the New Atlantis Club condominiums to walk over to the park.
"I've always wanted to build a bridge," he said.
Nick Reeves, 15, Clearwater High School
Project: Reeves will create a wild bird feeding and demonstration area at the George C. McGough Nature Park at 11901 146th St. N. The project will include clearing of the designated space, choosing and planting vegetation to attract birds, the installation of a bird feeder and educational display panel.
"I have to plan it all and lead people to get it done," he said. "The point of the Eagle Scout project is to demonstrate leadership."
Bradley Schwiekert, 17, Osceola High School
Project: Schwiekert is creating a display of American Indian artifacts. He will research the history and significance of artifacts donated to the parks department and put the items on display at the McGough Nature Park at 11901 146th St. N. He will also create and install an educational panel related to the artifacts.
"I've always been interested in Indians," Schwiekert said. "When I was a younger Scout I wanted to find
an arrowhead. Now I have 50 of them."