Written by Jane Jackson, NSLA associate director Friday, 16 December 2011 00:00
On October 8, nearly a year since East Williston resident Greg Cocchi, of Shelter Rock Troop 201, a student at the Wheatley School, first approached North Shore Land Alliance about an Eagle Scout project he might organize, he and 40 fellow Scouts and some of their parents created a meandering trail through the atmospheric pine plantation at Fox Hollow Preserve in Laurel Hollow.
An Eagle Scout project places many demands on the Scout, requiring him to design it from soup to nuts, addressing everything from calculating equipment and labor needs, to securing Troop and District approval for the project, to fundraising for materials used.
Greg needed to visit the Preserve several times before the work day to photograph the site, flag a route for the trail, learn to recognize native and invasive plant species, and measure the proposed trail width and length. His careful calculations enabled him to plot a course that would avoid poison ivy while minimizing disturbance to habitat values of the site, home to Red Foxes, nesting Red-tailed Hawks, and Great Horned Owls, among other wildlife.
One of Greg’s biggest challenges may have arrived on the eighth, when he found himself supervising 40 Scouts who’d volunteered to help! Greg was responsible for not only inspiring the Scouts to carry out the task efficiently, but for making sure they were aware of the sensitivity of the site and to use caution while laying out the trail. (Any of you readers who have overseen a large group completing an assignment surely recognizes this is no small feat.) Greg made it all seem old hat.
“It wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be,” he smiled. His parents, Roger and Mary-Ellen, who had been involved in the project since day one, agreed.
Fox Hollow Preserve is owned by The Nature Conservancy. The Land Alliance has stewarded it for several years. If you would like more information regarding this or other preserves maintained by the Land Alliance, please contact them at 626-0908.