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Navigating the nature Preserve at Concordia takes caution, but thanks to Eagle Scout, Caleb Giese, the trek through the Preserve is now easier to access because a new pedestrian bridge was constructed. Visitors to the CTX Preserve can now pass easily across the creek and flora and fauna are protected.
“I wanted to help make the creek not only easier to cross, but to help preserve the wonderful wildlife and allow biology classes to have easier access to the preserve,” Caleb said. “We don’t want to harm wildlife, so I thought a bridge would be the perfect project.”
Caleb built this bridge on the Concordia nature Preserve for his Eagle Scout community service project. The Eagle Scout rank is the highest and most difficult to achieve. Choosing a service project wasn’t an easy decision for Caleb. He didn’t know where to begin.
Caleb’s father, Dr. Curt Giese, is a theology professor at Concordia and recommended Concordia’s Preserve. Caleb realized that the University Preserve was a perfect fit for the project.
The requirements to complete this project were lengthy and strict. There was much paperwork involved. Caleb had to start with the outline of the project, request approval, and once approved, he had to keep track of all materials used on the Preserve.
“My dad helped me get in touch with the necessary contacts,” Caleb said. “I needed five signatures just to begin this process.”
For approval of the project, Caleb met with Dan Gregory, Concordia’s Executive Director of University Services, and Eric Booth, University Director of Facilities Management. Gregory and Booth helped guide Caleb through all necessary requirements to complete this project on the Preserve.
“Concordia’s preserve is host to thirteen endangered species,” said Booth. “The endangered Jollyville salamander lives in the Preserve, and the bridge prevents visitors from stepping on them or disturbing their environment.
A project of this caliber can’t be done by one person alone. At any given time, Caleb managed a team of four to 12 helpers.
“Not only did I help build the bridge, I had to design the bridge and plan the process,” Caleb said. “This project required tons of details, which helped me exercise and improve my leadership skills.”
The project began in December 2011, with the approval to begin the first steps. In February 2012, construction began and the bridge was completed by the end of March.
“The foundation took a lot longer than expected,” Caleb said. “We ended up having to work an extra weekend to finish on time.”
Caleb was in eighth grade at Redeemer Lutheran School during the time of this project. He is also involved in soccer, woodworking, football and hiking in addition to Boy Scouts. Caleb is now attending Concordia High school.
“I want the legacy of this bridge to highlight for anyone who walks through the Preserve that a Boy Scout completed this project, in hopes to inspire other Boy Scout projects,” Caleb said. “I also want to promote the protection of the environment.”
Concordia University Texas is located on a 386-acre tract in northwest Austin, four miles east of Lake Travis. Approximately 250 acres of the campus is a nature and wildlife preserve and is part of a conservation easement with Travis County. The campus is a “living classroom” for the study of responsible urban environmentalism and offers a unique opportunity to investigate and manage endangered species, native plants, hydrology, forestry, geology along with archeology in a spectacular setting.