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Aspiring Eagle Scout from Sterling Heights organized rehab of Macomb Community College’s South Campus Nature Center

– Tuesday, October 7, 2014 12:00AM

The center’s nature trails, kiosk restored by scouts and other volunteers

Joseph Decker

Environmental science, geology and biology courses at Macomb Community College got a boost from an Early College of Macomb student working to become an Eagle Scout. 

The student, Joseph Decker, 16, of Sterling Heights, organized his Boy Scout troop and other volunteers to make improvements to the college’s South Campus Nature Center in Warren. He took on the project to fulfill the community service requirement for becoming an Eagle Scout – the highest rank attainable in the Boy Scouting program of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA).

The project involved clearing nature trails that had become nearly impassable, spreading mulch along the trails, creating small foot bridges and repairing benches, and restoring an educational kiosk.  Decker recruited members of Troop 210 in Sterling Heights, as well as other volunteers, to help with the work, which took more than a year to complete. In all, Decker said roughly 35 people were involved in at least some parts of the project.

In order to pay for the repairs, Decker raised about $600 in donations, of which roughly $500 was spent on supplies. The remainder was donated to the Macomb Community College Foundation, a 501(c)3 organization that generates and manages private financial support for the educational purposes and objectives of the college.

By removing excess growth, hauling away fallen limbs and completing much-needed repairs, the volunteers made the center much safer and more pleasant, greatly increasing the usability of what had been an under-utilized asset, said Randall Young, associate dean, Arts & Sciences, at Macomb.

“In its restored state, our South Campus Nature Center not only looks better, it is a far better educational tool,” Young said. “By making the facility more accessible, this project contributes to the college’s educational mission in a meaningful way. While the center has been used primarily for science instruction, our hope is that it will now become a campus-wide resource that can be used for a variety of purposes.”

As a student in the Early College at Macomb program, Decker takes college-level courses at Macomb while also attending Henry Ford II High School in Sterling Heights. Students enter the program in the eleventh grade, earning college credit while completing their high school diplomas. They also can attend a “13th year” of school after graduation, at no cost for tuition, fees and books. For more information about the program, visit www.ecmacomb.org.

With the completion of the South Campus Nature Center project, Decker needs just two additional merit badges – Citizenship in the Community and Cooking – to reach Eagle Scout rank. According to the BSA 2.3 million Boy Scouts have earned the Eagle Scout since 1912, when the rank was created, through 2013. In 2013, 56,841 Boy Scouts, seven percent of the total, earned the Eagle Scout rank.

About Macomb Community College
Macomb Community College (www.macomb.edu) is one of the nation’s leading community colleges, providing learning experiences to nearly 48,000 students annually.  Macomb nationally ranks in the top two percent in the number of associate degrees awarded by community colleges.  The college’s comprehensive educational programming includes pre-collegiate experiences, university transfer and career preparation programs, bachelor degree completion and graduate degree programs, workforce training, professional education and certification, and continuing education and enrichment opportunities.

Media Contact: James Melton, 586.445.7271, meltonj@macomb.edu

PHOTO INFORMATION
Joseph Decker, 16, of Sterling Heights, at Macomb Community College's South Campus Nature Center in Warren. An aspiring Eagle Scout, Decker led a project to improve and restore the center and its nature trails.