Eagle Scouts receive recognition for conservation service projects

Discussion in 'Outdoor News' started by Wisconsin DNR News, Apr 8, 2015.

  1. By Central Office April 8, 2015

    Contact(s): Paul Holtan, office of communications, 608-267-7517

    MADISON - Three Eagle Scouts received recognition for their efforts to improve recreational safety and wildlife conservation in the completion of their Eagle Scout Service Projects--a necessary requirement in achieving the rank of Eagle Scout´┐Żat the state Natural Resources Board meeting today in Madison.

    Brothers Joseph and Alex Neimon of Troop 49 of Summit conducted service projects for trail safety at the Lapham Peak Unit of the Kettle Moraine State Forest and Brad Chernak from Troop 640, in the Town of Middleton, worked with Department of Natural Resources wildlife staff to complete the construction of white-tail deer jaw aging boards.

    Kurt Thiede, deputy DNR Secretary (left), presents awards to Joseph and Alex Neimon in recognition of their Eagel Scout Service Project at Lapham Peak. The Neimon parents are at right.
    WDNR Photo

    Joseph Neimon installed trail intersection numbers on trails at Lapham Peak and developed a numbering system in conjunction with the Lapham Peak Property Manager Brett Johanen. Joseph and his brother Alex worked with Lapham Peak staff to create a park map for trail users that has the identifying intersection numbers included. This resource has proven to be very valuable for users and park staff. Joe was later awarded the honor of Eagle Scout for his work at Lapham Peak.

    Alex Neimon followed up on his brother's project installing trail map signs at strategic locations throughout the park. The installation of these maps allows users of the park to navigate around with ease. It also allows for Lapham Peak to scale back on the purchasing of paper trail maps, and with the advance of smart phones, may lead to paper map elimination altogether.

    As part of his Eagle Scout project, Alex also wanted to take his project to the next level. The intersections signs throughout the park were intended to assist emergency personnel and staff. However, if a true emergency occurred and someone dialed 911 there would be a gap in the response time as there was no link between the signs and emergency dispatch.

    In order, to do it correctly, Alex had to engage in a very laborious task of physically going to all 40 intersection signs in the 1,100 acre park and identifying their exact locations as it relates to the ground. Then he had to go the Land Information Department at the Waukesha County Courthouse, use their computer maps to drill down from aerial shots and map where the intersections were located. This mapping established GPS coordinates into Waukesha County's database system, which also has a map of the Park's trail system.

    When a Lapham Peak trail user has an emergency, they can call 911, tell dispatch that they are in Lapham Peak State Park and provide the sign number. Their coordinates and a map to their location will be provided to the responding emergency personnel's on-board computer. Alex did earn his Eagle Scout award as the result of this project.

    A strong respect for nature and understanding of the need for wildlife conservation lead Brad Chernak to reach out to DNR wildlife management staff to help him develop a service project to construct nine deer jaw aging boards. He worked with the CWD sample processing center in Black Earth to collect and accurately age 72 jaws needed for the project.

    From a wildlife management perspective, understanding the age structure of the deer harvested in the state is an important component to properly managing the deer herd. In addition, deer aging is of keen interest for many deer hunters as they evaluate the deer herd in their immediate area and ultimately select the deer they are interested in harvesting from the property that they hunt. As a result, these jaw boards will provide valuable opportunities to increase information sharing between DNR staff and the general public.

    Kurt Thiede, deputy DNR Secretary (left), presents awards to Brad Chernak in recognition of his Eagel Scout Service Project creating deer aging boards. Chernak's parents are at right.
    WDNR Photo

    In addition, as wildlife biologists reach out to Deer Management Assistance Program cooperators and other interested citizens, the construction of these aging boards greatly enhances the understanding of how to age deer by provide a great opportunity to physically show the differences in teeth development and wear while tremendously enhancing outreach opportunities with the general public around the state.

    Last Revised: Wednesday, April 08, 2015