Scout adds birdhouses to park

Published 12:35 pm Thursday, July 7, 2011

Northport teen Emery Dunkin helped build and install 32 bluebird houses at Maplesville Community Park as part of his Eagle Scout project.

Emery Dunkin from Northport built and installed bluebird houses at Maplesville Community Park on his way to earning scouting’s highest honor.

As part of his Eagle Scout Project, the Tuscaloosa County High School sophomore oversaw the project, which added 32 birdhouses to the park on Shanks Drive.

Dunkin is the grandson of engineer John Stevens, whose company, Sentell Engineering, has done work for the town, including designing the park. A scouting friend had also built two benches for the park a few years back.

“My grandfather goes everywhere, into different towns,” said Dunkin.

Dunkin (third from left), friends and family install the birdhouses and a park bench at Maplesville Community Park.

To complete the birdhouse project, Dunkin assembled a team of fellow scouts, church friends and family members to help build the houses on a Friday. He built a model birdhouse, and then showed everyone else how to build them.

Half that group then spent the next day installing the birdhouses and a wooden bench at the park.

“It really was a simple project,” Dunkin said. “It was fun — it was a leadership project (having to oversee everything).”

The houses were treated with a sealant and should last several years. They will only need to be cleaned out periodically.

Dunkin said he’s learned a lot from scouting, which is a big part of his family. A cousin and good friend earned his badge at 13, while an uncle was named an Eagle Scout at just 14.

“It’s not an obligation. I do it gladly,” he said. “Being outdoors is just fun for us.”

He said he’s also learned a lot of life skills from being in scouts, like personal finance.

“You learn leadership skills, tools you are going to need as an adult,” said Dunkin, who is senior patrol leader for Troop 87 out of the Northport Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

Dunkin has also been on TCHS’s wrestling team. After high school, he wants to go to the University of Alabama to study criminal justice and eventually become a police officer.