Scouts help wildlife with projects at Cedar Run

Boy and Girl scouts in the area volunteer at Cedar Run for awards projects.

Brian Stilts/Special to The Sun: Resident and Eagle Scout Matt Stilts poses for a photo with his finished Eagle Scout project, a bird enclosure for the Cedar Run Wildlife Refuge.

Scouts are thriving at Woodford Cedar Run Wildlife Refuge! In the midst of the pandemic, Boy Scouts and Girls Scouts have been able to complete projects to benefit the operations of Cedar Run. Boy Scouts can complete an Eagle Scout Service Project by their 18th birthday in order to earn their Eagle Scout Rank. Girl Scouts have Bronze, Silver, and Gold Awards that solve problems in their communities and make lasting impacts.

Senior Athan Katsaros used the summer to build a Davis Enclosure for his Eagle Scout Project, a structure used to house animals as they transition to living outside. He was able to get teams of scouts and parents to build in a day and a half, like a traditional barn-raising. Some of the structures we use as temporary housing have been here since the 1980s and while they still work, they need updating.

This summer we have also seen the addition of a fledge enclosure, where young songbirds stretch their wings and practice flying before being released. Junior Ethan Harbold worked throughout the summer to raise money and material donations to build the enclosure for his Eagle Scout Project, finishing in September in time for the new school year.

If you have visited Cedar Run since July, you may have noticed that we’ve done a lot of work in our store and public areas. One such area was improved by 8th grader Ashley Lupa, who painted and decorated our display tables for her Girl Scout Silver Award. She also donated and installed curtains to frame our picture window overlooking the lake, sprucing up the entire space.

8th grader Elena Bonifrisco built two bat boxes at the beginning of the summer for her Girl Scout Silver Award, one for Cedar Run and one for Rutgers University. She wants people to understand that bats are important parts of our ecosystem and should not be feared.

These Boy and Girl Scouts were able to take an uncertain situation and make the best of it. Cedar Run thanks them for their hard work and contributions to further our mission. If you are looking for a place to complete an Eagle project, or a Gold or Silver Award, please check out the Scout page of our website at www.cedarrun.org.

Cedar Run’s 3.5 miles of trail and Wildlife Housing Area, with nearly 60 non-releasable animals in enclosures, have remained open to the public. Cedar Run’s goal is to remind people that nature is always waiting to awe them, and that we play a role in protecting nature as well. Cedar Run remains an integral part of the community, providing a valuable service in our rehabilitation of wild animals, our education to the public, and as a place to explore nature.

About Woodford Cedar Run Wildlife Refuge: Woodford Cedar Run Wildlife Refuge is a South Jersey non-profit dedicated to New Jersey’s children, wildlife and the habitats they share. Cedar Run is the busiest wildlife rehabilitation hospital in the tri-state area; New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware seeing 5,103 animals in 2019. Located on 171-acres of protected Pinelands habitat in Medford, NJ, Cedar Run operates an on-site Wildlife Rehabilitation Hospital and Nature Center that hosts STEM and nature-based education programs for all ages reaching more than 30,000 people each year.