Local Boy Scout earns Eagle Award for handmade bee nests

Zach York's project will help repopulate bee population in area

Posted 2/8/16

Zach York had a personal goal to get his Eagle Scout award by the time he was 14. He wanted to follow in the footsteps of his grandfather — who died when York was 11 months old.

In November, the freshman at Mountain Vista High School reached …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Username
Password
Log in

Don't have an ID?


Print subscribers

If you're a print subscriber, but do not yet have an online account, click here to create one.

Non-subscribers

Click here to see your options for becoming a subscriber.

If you made a voluntary contribution in 2022-2023 of $50 or more, but do not yet have an online account, click here to create one at no additional charge. VIP Digital Access includes access to all websites and online content.


Our print publications are advertiser supported. For those wishing to access our content online, we have implemented a small charge so we may continue to provide our valued readers and community with unique, high quality local content. Thank you for supporting your local newspaper.

Local Boy Scout earns Eagle Award for handmade bee nests

Zach York's project will help repopulate bee population in area

Posted

Zach York had a personal goal to get his Eagle Scout award by the time he was 14. He wanted to follow in the footsteps of his grandfather — who died when York was 11 months old.

In November, the freshman at Mountain Vista High School reached his goal: He received the Boy Scouts' highest award for building eight native bee nests that will last up to 30 years and help repopulate the bee population in Highlands Ranch.

“I was interested in bees before,” said York, who earned the award a month before his 15th birthday, making him about two years younger than the average Eagle Scout. “I know that the population has declined, so I thought it would be good to help the bee community.”

Four thousand native bee species pollinate 80 percent of flowering plants, such as fruits, nuts and vegetables, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Native bees vary in shape and size.

There's worldwide concern about the shrinking number of bees because of a disorder that kills adult bees in colonies, leaving a live queen with only immature bees, the Department of Agriculture reports.

Colorado, too, is experiencing the phenomenon.

“The population in Colorado mimics the national losses, which have been running between 35 percent and 45 percent for the past eight years,” said Beth Conrey, president of the Colorado State Beekeepers Association.

Which is why York's project — which focused on native bees that typically nest below ground and in tube-shaped formations — is so important, Conrey said.

The great thing about these bees is if “you build it, they will come,” she said. “It will be interesting to see who moves in there.”

York worked closely with local park ranger Sandy Holcomb, who's been a beekeeper for 10 years, to create surface nests for native bees.

“We gave him the project and he had to modify it to be creative as well as provide something we were looking for,” she said. “He funded the project and had a crew ready to go.”

York started his project in June. He raised $130 from bake sales and asked for donations from businesses, such as Home Depot. He kept a detailed log and presented his findings to a Boy Scout board.

Once approved, York and his team of fellow Boy Scouts built eight native bee nests out of wood and bamboo.

The nests were intricately designed with measured blocks of wood, hand-drilled holes and pitched roofs. Some had an open front with bamboo, circular holes stacked in layers. The tight living corridors were suitable for the small bee pollinators.

Each nest was then placed on a 2-foot wooden stake in areas of the Plum Valley and West Fork Big Dry Creek open spaces in Highlands Ranch.

They are expected to last many years and can be rebuilt if needed, according to Holcomb, who will take over the project.

“It's something that we can do over time and if we need to have backup, we can set up another nest,” she said. “This has some longevity to it.”

York's parents, Linda and Dan York, were impressed with their son's choice of project.

Linda recalled her son walking into several businesses asking for donations.

“To see your kid struggle with talking to a manager, you just want to jump in and help,” she said. “But you can't. And it builds confidence and leadership.”

York, who spent about 60 hours on his Eagle Award project over four months, plans to focus on school and reassess his Boy Scout membership when he's 18 years old. If he decides to continue, he will be a Venturer Scout.

For now, he's proud of his achievement and personal growth.

“It was a little scary at first, but after a little while it got easier,” he said. “I learned leadership skills and how to talk to people in the professional world.”

Eagle Award, Highlands Ranch Colorado, Boy Scouts, Alex DeWind

Comments

Our Papers

Ad blocker detected

We have noticed you are using an ad blocking plugin in your browser.

The revenue we receive from our advertisers helps make this site possible. We request you whitelist our site.