Junior’s Eagle Scout project to benefit school community


Grace Coughlin

Birkeland, a junior, hopes his project will contribute to hands-on learning opportunities for science classes.

Beginning as a Cub Scout in his elementary school years, junior, Andrew Birkeland now aims to achieve Eagle rank: the highest rank possible in the Boy Scouting program. With an extensive amount of requirements to achieve Eagle Rank, Birkeland has given continuous hard work and commitment since becoming a Boy Scout in fifth grade.

The requirements include earning 21 merit badges, 12 of which are required and 9 of which are chosen, but one requirement in particular presents the greatest challenge. “You have to come up with a project that will support a community or non-profit organization,” Birkeland said.

Birkeland’s project will positively affect the community he’s been apart since seventh grade at BSM. “I’m building a butterfly garden habitat behind the junior high office. My goal is to provide an area for environmental science and ecology science classes that is easily accessible and also adds appeal to an area that isn’t always seen by students,” Birkeland said.

[I have enjoyed] being able to see myself grow as a leader and continue to help out the school–a place that has provided an education for me in past five years– and give back to them

— Andrew Birkeland

His straightforward goal has required a large amount of planning and commitment to his project. “I first introduced the idea to BSM about a year ago. The last two months have been going very well [and] a lot of the planning has taken place,” Birkeland said.

Because the Eagle rank can only be achieved before a Boy Scout turns eighteen, balancing time between school, work, and sports can especially pose challenges. “Just finding a way to manage my time between school, sports, jobs, and finding a way to get it out there––that I’m working on my Eagle [has presented me with challenges],” Birkeland said.

Although achieving the Eagle rank holds many requirements, Birkeland has been able to confidently grow and appreciate the process. “[I have enjoyed] being able to see myself grow as a leader and continue to help out the school––a place that has provided an education for me in past five years–– and give back to them,’ Birkeland said.

The process of fulfilling his goal has been a source for character development, and Birkland is also grateful for his troop for providing a sturdy foundation. “I found a really good troop, and I have just stuck with them. I am apart of Troop 534 in New Hope; [junior] Jared Taitt is apart of it as well. It’s just been so instrumental in my development,” Birkeland said.

After the substantial amount of paperwork is completed, Birkland will become one of the very few who attain the highest possible rank in the Boy Scouts program. “Only four percent of all Boy Scouts achieve the eagle rank,” Birkeland said.

At the beginning of June, Birkland completed Benilde-St. Margaret’s first ever butterfly garden, that will enrich the school’s science classes and fulfill his outstanding goal. “Getting my Eagle Scout will surpass [all other Boy Scout experiences],” Birkeland said.