Matt Bennett, a Madison High School Senior, can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel as he looks to wrap up his yearlong Eagle Scout project with Great Swamp Watershed Association over the coming weeks!
Matt, a member of Troop 25, in Madison Boro, has been working with GSWA to increase the passive educational opportunities at the organization’s 53 acre Conservation Management Area. A successful Eagle Scout project must highlight leadership and allow for a project that will have lasting impact to the community the Eagle Scout works with. His project to research, design, create and install 20 wildlife interpretive signs at the CMA will certainly pass the longevity bar for a great project!
Over a year ago, Matt began his project by reaching out to GSWA Director of Education and Outreach, Hazel England, with his initial desire to complete his Eagle Scout award at the Conservation Management Area. After walking the trails and learning what some of the stewardship, education, and conservation needs and goals for the property were, he refined his potential project to create signage that encouraged hikers to learn more about some of the native plants and animals to be found on the property. Over the winter months he and his fellow scouts researched the species they would highlight, refined their plans, revisited the site with GSWA trustee John Neale, and visited area hardware providers to solicit donations. They began to draw and use dremel tools to craft the Corian signs that they would install. Locations were picked to install the various signs, with 4”x4” posts and wooden backboards being installed in place ready for the final signs.
From working with biologists to make sure the information he would include in his project was correct to asking for materials to be donated, to marshalling and leading his fellow scouts to undertake the multiple steps of the project, Matt has gained many valuable life skills along the way.
Take a hike at the CMA and you can see his hard work in situ.
Matt was helped along the way by his fellow friends and scouts: Christian Rodriguez, Matt Gavasheli, James Hughes, Chris Johnson, Andrew Novotny, Johnny Prout, Kian Deane, Luke Deane, David Pineda, Jody Marcus, Luke Schuszler, -David Amieva, and parents Mr. Johnson, Mr. Hughes and Matt’s Mother and Father, Andrew and Inez Bennett who all helped out.
Materials and Supplies for the construction and installation were donated by Tom Roberts at World Tile Imports in East Hanover, Brandon at the East Hanover Home Depot, Lowes Corporation, Jaeger of Madison and Frungillo Caterers in Bloomfield.
Thank you to friends, scouts, families and sponsors for your help in making Matt’s project for the Great Swamp Watershed such a success.