Eagle Scout helping wood ducks in Austin

Migrating Wood Ducks Have New Nesting Habitat at Camp Mabry thanks to Morgan Jones and Boy Scout Troop 1, Austin, Texas

Photo Credit: David Bowers

Morgan Jones, a 15-year-old Eagle Scout of Troop 1, First Presbyterian Church in Austin, Texas, completed his combined Eagle Scout and William T. Hornaday Conservation Award projects in August 2019 under the supervision of Dr. Linda Brown, Camp Mabry’s Natural Resource Program Manager.

“My troop encouraged and supported me to simultaneously complete a combined Eagle Scout and William T. Hornaday Conservation Award project at Camp Mabry,” said Jones. “The Hornaday Award is Boy Scouts of America's highest conservation award, and its projects are even more difficult than an Eagle Scout project.”

With the help of Troop 1, Jones constructed six Wood Duck boxes that were installed at Camp Mabry. The camp, located just outside Austin, Texas, is the third oldest active military installation in the state. The camp has a recreational area that is open to the public and serves as home to the Texas Military Forces Museum.

Kirby Brown, Ducks Unlimited Conservation Outreach Biologist and an Eagle Scout himself noted “Wood ducks, like many game species in North America, were at an all-time low during the late 1800’s and early 1900’s but have made a huge comeback with application of science, and habitat and management actions. Wood duck boxes have provided a huge boost to the population, and projects like these are important and add up for the continued health and management of wood ducks. Thanks to Morgan for educating folks and sending this out to other scouts and our DU volunteers. With more people undertaking projects like these the future of wood duck populations is certainly positive."

In addition to the wood duck boxes, Jones and fellow Scouts built a mulch pad for a picnic table, restored a trail that connects the picnic site with another Eagle Project educational site and created an educational sign about wood ducks and their habitat.

Educational Sign Design small

Ideally, the project will help increase the population of wood ducks at Camp Mabry that annually migrate from Mexico through Texas and finally to Canada. The site provides an educational picnic area where visitors may witness nesting wood ducks typically seen during March and April. The project required more than 160 service hours from a crew of eight Scouts and 10 adult volunteers to complete.