Eagle project good for all

Published 10:36 pm Thursday, May 26, 2016

The Eagle Scout award is not meant to be easy, and the project that is among the criteria for the award is not meant to be simple.

According to the National Eagle Scout Association, only about 5 percent of all Boy Scouts attain the Eagle Scout rank, equaling about 2 million Boy Scouts since 1912.

In addition to the project, prospective Eagle Scouts must also be active in their troop, demonstrate they live by the principles of the Scout Oath and Scout Law, earn certain merit badges, serve in leadership positions and take part in a unit leader conference.

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However, the project usually attracts the most attention, and for good reason. Eagle projects are designed to support religious institutions, schools or the community at large, so they are often outdoors, often beneficial to many people and often quite noticeable.

One recent project by a local Scout, however, is outdoors and beneficial to many people but not so noticeable — because it took place almost entirely underwater.

Cameron Bruce, now a rising Nansemond-Suffolk Academy senior, won a big award for his project, which he completed in 2014. He was recognized as the Boy Scouts Tidewater Council’s honoree for the 2016 Glen A. and Melinda W. Adams Eagle Scout Project of the Year Award. The award is given to only one Scout per council nationwide, meaning only 90 Scouts receive it per year.

Bruce spearheaded an oyster restoration project in the Elizabeth River for his project. He grew oysters in 17 floating cages and eventually transferred more than 2,400 fully grown oysters to a sanctuary reef protected and maintained by the Virginia Marine Resources Commission.

Prospective Eagle Scouts don’t just carry out their projects themselves, though — they must coordinate volunteer help from their family, other troop members and others and raise money to fund the project.

Bruce and volunteers visited the oysters in the floating cages every two weeks, cleaning algae and removing crabs that attached to the cages.

Bruce even blogged about his project at waterviewgrowsoysters.blogspot.com.

Every oyster filters about 60 gallons of water daily, and each female oyster can produce up to 1,000 offspring, according to the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.

“It makes me feel good to have such an impact on the environment,” said Bruce. “Completing the project was an incredible feeling of accomplishment.”

We thank Bruce for his incredible project and congratulate him on his well-deserved honors.