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Scout Project Benefits Owls

Chris Ross, of Jonas, Monroe County, recently completed an Eagle Scout service project aimed at helping out Pennsylvania owls.
Chris Ross, of Jonas, Monroe County, recently completed an Eagle Scout service project aimed at helping out Pennsylvania owls. Ross, a member of Boy Scout Troop 209 in Towamensing Township, built 12 wooden owl nesting boxes and erected them in the Beltzville Wildlife Management Area (WMA) and Beltzville State Park, in Carbon County.
The boxes are designed to provide adult owls with ideal places to roost and rear their young. 
“Several species of Pennsylvania owls will benefit from this project,” explained Pennsylvania Game Commission Northeast Region Land Manager Michael Beahm.
“After several decades of population decline, a statewide Barn Owl Conservation Initiative was developed to help the Game Commission acquire more information on barn owl populations and habitat utilization,” said Game Commission Wildlife Diversity Biologist Rich Fritsky. “We hope to provide barn owls, and other owl species, with increased nesting opportunities,” Fritsky added.  Recent habitat work at the Beltzville WMA focused on increasing native grassland habitat ideal for barn owls and many other wildlife species. 
Ross secured donations to fund the project and enlisted volunteers to help build, stain, and erect the boxes. He thanked Cub Scout Pack 209 for constructing the boxes.  Ten barred owl boxes were mounted on trees in forested areas utilizing rubber hosing. Two owl boxes were placed in local barns, both located in areas with ideal grassland habitat. 
Ross coordinated his efforts with the Game Commission, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and DCNR State Park officials.
“Chris did an excellent job in visualizing this valuable project and seeing it to completion” said Beahm. 

(Information from Marcia Walsh-PA Game Commission)

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