Teen makes willow planting in Waterfall burn area his Eagle project | NevadaAppeal.com

Teen makes willow planting in Waterfall burn area his Eagle project

by Maggie O'Neill

BRAD HORN/Nevada Appeal Boy Scout Royce Kennerley stands next to one of 200 willows planted on Saturday morning at the mouth of Kings Canyon as part of his Eagle Scout project.

When 16-year-old Royce Kennerley started his Eagle Scout project, he learned an important lesson: Be prepared – and bring friends.

He expected about 15 people to show up Saturday for his willow-planting project for an eight-hour day of work.

Instead 25 people showed up to help reseed an area burned by the Waterfall fire near East Canyon Creek this summer, and the group was done in five hours.

Royce, a member of Boy Scout Troop 33 and a Douglas High School student, needs to gather 100 manpower hours toward his project for it to be eligible for the Eagle Scout award. On Saturday, he gained about 80 hours, according to his troop leader Mark Baughn.

“It went off fairly well,” Baughn said. “Royce had a good turnout of parents and youngsters working on the project and he had some other kids from another troop show up, I believe from South Tahoe.”

Baughn oversees Kennerley and 11 other scouts, four of whom are working on Eagle Scout projects this year. Of the 25 people present, Baughn planted about 15 of the 200 willow trees.

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“It was pretty rocky in some areas, but the soil was pretty moist,” he said. “It was extremely burned there. They say it got so hot there, it just nuked the soil so nothing would grow.”

Willow trees are an easy-growing plant, according to Kennerley, and Saturday’s project involved digging a hole and burying the root.

“The weather was really good, and everything went nice and smooth,” he said. “It turned out really well. Now I have to write up changes in my plans and so on and get my time documented.”

In researching his project over the past month, he learned about the Carson water supply from the Nevada Division of Forestry, which donated the 200 willow trees used in the project.

“That’s the natural plant of the creek area,” Royce said.

Over the next weeks, Kennerley will return to the area to check on the willow trees. He anticipates completing his Eagle Scout project by spring.

“What I learned in general from Boy Scouts is the leadership so I can do the project,” he said. “It taught me how to be so I could go through with this project. Boy Scouts benefits you a lot later with jobs and stuff.”

Contact reporter Maggie O’Neill at mo’neill@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1219.