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Visitors to Canton Parks may notice an influx of owls flying overhead thanks to the addition of several owl houses built and installed by Evan McKimmy, as part of his final Eagle Scout project.
McKimmy, a 15-year-old Canton resident, completed the installation of 15 owl houses in several parks across Canton in late spring 2018. The Salem High School student enlisted his fellow scouts in Troop #854, based in St. Michael’s Lutheran Church of Canton, to assist in building and placing the owl houses in these open green spaces.
Visitors can see McKimmy’s owl houses tucked into wooded areas in Heritage Park, Independence Park, Griffin Park, Flodin Park, Barchester Park, Freedom Park, and the Lower Rouge River Trail.
“The entire project lasted eight months,” McKimmy said. “This included planning, fundraising, building and eventually placing the houses.” In order to gain access to Canton’s parks, McKimmy was required to present his idea to his troop and to the Canton Leisure Services Advisory Committee to get their approval.
“It never was stressful (presenting my project to the committee),” McKimmy said. “Everyone at the Canton Leisure Services department was really supportive and inviting.”
McKimmy, who has been a scout since kindergarten, said he learned a few lessons during the project – about both owls and leadership. “I learned that owl houses needed to be set at a certain height as well as a certain distance away from each other so the owls have adequate feeding territories,” said Evan McKimmy.
He also learned what owls are native to the Canton area and what type of houses they need. According to McKimmy, “Barred Owls are larger owls and need larger houses. The Eastern Screech Owls, on the other hand, are smaller and utilize smaller dwellings.”
McKimmy thanked his fellow troop mates for their help getting the project done. Leadership, he said he learned, isn’t always about being ‘the boss.’ “What I learned was not to be too over controlling,” McKimmy said. “Always being a control freak is never good. It’s better to be more of a friendly leader.”
John McKimmy, Evan’s father, is proud his son completed the project. He is even happier that Evan made a positive contribution to his hometown of Canton. “Boy Scouts has done a lot for (Evan’s) leadership abilities,” John McKimmy said. “This Eagle Scout project had more than eight-years-worth of work behind it.”
For additional information on how to submit an Eagle Scout project for consideration, please contact Canton’s Volunteer Coordinator at 734/394-5191. For more information about Canton Parks, visit www.cantonfun.org or call 734/394-5310.