Troy teen builds, donates bee houses to win Eagle Scout recognition

By Fran Gonzalez | Feb 06, 2020
Courtesy of: Kristi Braley Garrett Cullivan, center poses with his mother, Kristi Braley, left, and stepdad Scott Braley. Cullivan is the fourth Boy Scout from Troop 233 in Unity to earn the Eagle Scout designation in a year.

Troy — Garrett Cullivan earned the highest achievement possible in Boy Scouting Jan. 6 — he became an Eagle Scout.

For his community service project, Cullivan researched, designed and built five custom native bee houses, which he donated to Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association in Unity. MOFGA is a community organization that educates and advocates for organic agriculture.

In all, the scout figures he spent 250 hours reading up on bees and learning about their habitat. He had observed that native bees were becoming extinct, and decided to help them thrive by providing a suitable nesting place.

Besides the numbers wiped out by disease, many bees, he said, make their homes where they should not, under eaves or in crevices along the siding of houses. The problem is exacerbated when a homeowner uses chemicals to get rid of them; in old houses, he said, asbestos can also kill bees.

They are pretty sensitive, Cullivan said, so he used coffee grounds and water to naturally stain the wood on his bee houses. “It actually worked pretty well,” he said.

“During the winter, bees can use the bee houses for hibernation,” he said, ”and in summer it will most likely be a focal point,” for visitors to MOFGA. The bee houses were mounted to kiosks around the large property, and eventually will be fitted with educational plaques, so people can understand the benefits of owning a bee house and also learn how to build one.

Both of Cullivan's uncles, Jeff Fuller and Arthur Fuller, helped with the project, along with his stepfather, Scott Braley, and two friends and fellow scouts. His Uncle Arthur has been building his signature “Ole Man Birdhouses” and selling them from a large tree in front of his home on Route 220 in Montville for many years; he provided Cullivan with his knowledge of birdhouses and materials.

“The birdhouse style came from my uncle,” he said. On the front of each bee house is Arthur’s familiar old man face with a corncob pipe. Four 2-by-6-inch boards comprise the walls with long holes bored into them. “That is where they make their nests,” he said. With this design, he said, the inner boards can be taken out and cleaned or replaced at any time.

Cullivan is currently in 10th grade at Mount View High School and is in Troop 233 from Unity. He enjoys “cars, sleds and wheelers,” as well as working with wood and metal, having learned to weld for one of his merit badges. As a summer job, Garrett said he worked with his stepfather welding solar panel frames together. He is considering either joining the military or applying to a technical college after graduating from high school.

Before earning his Eagle Scout designation, he was required to complete 21 merit badges. He then had to plan, develop and give leadership to others in a service project that would ultimately be helpful to a community institution. The project had to be approved by the organization benefiting from the effort, the scoutmaster and the District Council.

From a previous connection, Cullivan knew Jack Kertesz, landscape coordinator at MOFGA, and mentioned the bee house idea to him. Kertesz in turn presented the idea to MOFGA, which gave the scout the green light.

Kertesz sent a letter of recommendation to the Boy Scout Council Review Committee, citing in the project's favor the fact that it used recycled material, and commenting positively on the whimsical nature of the design.

“It’s a pretty big achievement,” Cullivan said.

His mother, Kristi Braley, said she is “super proud of him,” and that it was a lot of hard work. Since 1946, she said, Cullivan is the 13th Boy Scout to become an Eagle Scout from Troop 233 in Unity, and the fourth person to earn the rank in the past year.

“It says a lot for the leadership,” Braley said, and acknowledged troop leaders Mike Braley, Jon Wadick and Chris Aspinall.

“It’s amazing how rigorous the Eagle Scout program is,” she said. “He’s been so lucky to have the leaders he’s had. I wish there were more kids taking advantage of the program.”

As part of the Boy Scouts' community service endeavors, the troop moved firewood into a home for an elderly community member, put flags on veterans’ graves, cleaned up the Kanokolus boat launch and beach area, helped with Unity town cleanup day and also helped clean up the Larrabee property after Clayton Larrabee died.

“Things that are forgotten,” Braley said, “but I am so proud of all these things.”

Boys Scouts from Troop 233 in Unity who have earned the rank of Eagle Scout since 1946 include: Michael Vickery, 1946; Erwin Vickery, 1948; Charles Hubbard, 1982; Laurence Cole, 1986; Scott Raven, 1987; Eric Warman and Jack Valles, 2006; Owen Freeman, 2013; Michael Aspinall, 2015; Eric Braley, Logan Wadick and Dylan Lobley, 2019; and Garrett Cullivan, 2020.

One of the five bee houses Garrett Cullivan designed and built is shown here Jan. 29. The houses were installed at MOFGA as a community service project that earned Cullivan the rank of Eagle Scout. (Photo by: Fran Gonzalez)
Comments (1)
Posted by: Elizabeth Townsend | Feb 06, 2020 19:05


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