Eagle Scouts at Unexpected

The Eagle Scout Leadership Project is the highest advancement rank in scouting, whereby a Boy Scout must fulfill requirements in the areas of leadership, service and outdoor skills. Only about 5% of all Boy Scouts earn this rank. The Refuge is proud to have had the following Boy Scouts achieve this level of success by implementing their Projects here. The narrative below briefly describes the projects as being performed by the individual Scout, however, many volunteers were involved in the endeavors.

Zachary Bornyasz – Troop 8, Cherry Hill, NJ: Fall 2015

Zach Bornyasz spent a day with a group of more than 10 volunteers reclaiming "Joe's Trail", which is dedicated to the late Joseph N. Trujillo. Joe was a hike leader, Refuge supporter and president of the Outdoor Club of South Jersey. Zach and his group cut back brush, cut up many large downed pines and branches and moved them off of the trail, removed rubble, repainted faded blazes on the trees on the trail and adjacent trails, repaired wooden trail signs and replaced missing signs. Zach also raised and donated $200 to be used by the Refuge for further maintenance. We are grateful to Zach and his colleagues for the great work they did.

Sam Macleon – Troop 8, Cherry Hill, NJ: Spring 2009

Sam MacLeon, following in his brother Ted's footsteps, was the seventh Boy Scout to complete his Eagle Scout Leadership Project here. He recovered Cedarbridge Trail, one of Hope's favorite walks. Sam cleared the forgotten trail and installed Prothonotary Warbler nest boxes along the small watercourse that entertains the footpath. He constructed benches out of logs, reconstructed the "bridge" and marked the trail with green blazes. Although Hope was very ill when I met her, she give me directions to find the trailhead, and she always teased me because it took me about seven months to finally find it. Obviously, it wasn't in very good shape when I found it, and I never did get on top of it. We are all so grateful to Sam and his crew for tackling this monumental undertaking and bringing Cedarbridge Trail back to life.

Ted Macleon – Troop 8, Cherry Hill, NJ: Summer 2007

Ted took the trail color key from Chris Keane's trail map project and applied it to the trails themselves. Using spray paint and cardboard templates, Ted blazed the trees along each trail with a specific color paint so now hikers can choose a trail and follow it easily throughout the ten miles of trails that cover 700 acres of forest and wetlands here at Unexpected Wildlife Refuge.

Andy Eklund – Troop 65, Haddonfield, NJ: Fall 2006

Andy selectively cleared a lovely area across from the parking area. He put down wood chips and constructed two full-size cedar picnic tables with attached benches. After placing and leveling the benches, Andy selectively cleared vegetation to open a vista across Main Pond, creating a comfortable and very interesting location for eating lunch.

Bob Burton – Troop 54, Lindenwold, NJ: Fall 2006

Bob created and installed wooden directional and location signs throughout the Refuge. Using 5 1/4 decking, he and his crew cut, sanded, stenciled, painted and hung hundreds of signs along the trails and at important features, like Otter Dam and Wild Goose Blind. Bob's signs show you which way to go, and tell you where you are.

Evan Wojtkowiak – Troop 65, Haddonfield, NJ: Summer 2006

Evan restored and enhanced bluebird habitat by cutting back encroaching invasive species like multiflora rose, Japanese honeysuckle and autumn olive plants. Evan also removed quite a few fallen trees that were impeding the mowing program. He left several standing dead trees, which are an important part of the ecosystem. Using benches, he created seating areas and installed a beautiful information sign about the eastern bluebird.

Kyle Gehring – Troop 65, Haddonfield, NJ: Spring 2005

Kyle constructed an observation blind on the south shore of Main Pond, a perfect location for morning bird watching. He also redesigned two existing blinds to meet bird watching specifications, with flat black paint inside and out, latching doors and blackout flaps on all viewing windows. These blinds are available to anyone interested in watching or photographing wildlife from a dry, secure and comfortable location.

Chris Keane – Troop 65, Haddonfield, NJ: Spring 2005

Chris designed and constructed a large scale, free-standing trail map of the Refuge. Using boards recycled from redwood furniture and a dremel, Chris routed out property lines, roads, streams and trails. He then used different colors for each feature and created a legend and map key. He installed the sign across from the parking area so that visitors can quickly orient themselves to Refuge surroundings.

Brandon Galezniak – Troop 54, Lindenwold, NJ

Brandon was our 8th Boy Scout to achieve the highest level attainable in Scouting. Brandon's leadership project was the restoration and enhancement of Mockingbird Field. He and his crew removed massive amounts of invasive plants like multiflora rose, Japanese honeysuckle and autumn olive and used the brush to close off an unused trail. They pruned back the fruit trees and up-branched other trees for easier mowing. Brandon and his crew made and installed two well-built benches for folks to sit and enjoy this lovely peaceful space. Thanks to Brandon's efforts we now have two new nest boxes and an attractive information sign explaining the facts about Mockingbirds and their habitat.

Jared Novak – Troop 65, Haddonfield, NJ

Jared Novak is our 9th Boy Scout to complete his Eagle Scout Leadership Project here. Jared, who is in Troop 65, Haddonfield, constructed a Beaver Viewing Platform next to the Main Pond. Jared creatively overcame unexpected challenges to reach his goal. We now have an easily accessible and comfortable paver patio with two benches next to the pond from which to watch our furry friends on the water.

Adam Breskin – Troop 8, Cherry Hill, NJ

Adam Breskin was our tenth scout to achieve the rank of Eagle Scout. Adam tackled the entrance beautification project, stating that first impressions are everything. Adam and his crew removed truckloads of greenbrier, Japanese honeysuckle, Asian bittersweet and autumn olive. He took out some dangerous tree snags and repositioned the existing entrance sign to a more visible location. We extend a very generous thank you to Adam Breskin for choosing Unexpected Wildlife Refuge as host organization for his project and congratulate him on attaining this exalted rank.