by Walker A. Wills, Freshman, Shorecrest Preparatory School
My name is Walker A. Willis and I am a freshman at Shorecrest Preparatory School in St. Petersburg. In 2015, I began a four-part sustainability project to benefit the students at my school. My first project was designed and completed as the final requirement for my Eagle Scout Project for BSA Troop 216. The Sustany® Foundation of Tampa Bay was instrumental in providing financial and volunteer support to my sustainability project.
The northeast section of the Shorecrest campus is dense with Australian Pines, an invasive species. A thin dirt trail led through these pines to a channel which runs along the school property to Tampa Bay. Middle School students in marine science often braved the dirt and brush to muck through mangroves into the channel in order to collect water samples and test Tampa Bay water quality. My Eagle Scout Project plan brought together scouts, students, community and Sustany® volunteers to build a channel-side water quality testing platform and research table from which students can collect clean and fresh water for study. Shorecrest students are Tampa Bay Watch volunteers who want to provide information on local water health and they now have a proper research area to utilize.
The primary beneficiaries of my project are environmental science students at Shorecrest, a non-for-profit organization, but neighbors living along the far side of the canal in Edgemoor and Placido Bayou also benefit from cleaner water due to the improved water quality that research promotes. The enhanced learning area also provides better opportunities for hands-on learning from outside visitors and environmental groups, and highlights the school’s environmental mission. My testing platform and research table should have a minimum 10-year-life span.