Teen Volunteer Spearheads Compost Bins Project with Petaluma Boy Scouts Troop 2

The Bounty Farm has a new composting station thanks to a special teen volunteer and his Boy Scouts group.

Bounty Farm first met Nickolas, a senior at Casa Grande High School, in the spring of 2021 when he chose Petaluma Bounty Farm to complete his senior project. He was an animated and energetic volunteer, always willing and eager to get into the various tasks at the farm, which at the time was focused mainly on our Spring Plant Sale.

He was very inquisitive about various aspects of the farm, really intent on understanding what we were trying to accomplish. Nickolas became an unforgettable face and he must not have been able to forget us because he approached us in May to ask if he could complete his Eagle Scout service project.

We were so pleased to see that Nickolas wanted to continue his service to the farm and connect us with his Troop 2 scouts. This project would earn him his official Eagle Scout status and had to be done before his 18th birthday.

(Photos courtesy of Nickolas and Troop 2, Petaluma. See more on the Troop 2 website here.)

Three projects to choose from

Troop 2 Petaluma is comprised of 30 youth between 11 and 17 years of age. The boys are organized under a system where there is a youth patrol leader and a senior patrol leader, Nickolas being the latter. Together, the patrol leaders organize meetings and monthly outings with adult leadership on hand for advice and safety checks — but it is really the youth who run Troop 2.

In May and June, Nickolas coordinated with Petaluma Bounty Farm Manager Reyna to first decide on a project that was both needed by the farm and would fall within the range of abilities and time the Troop could commit to. Petaluma Bounty suggested three projects to choose from: Building a free library to share farm-related resources; Constructing an herb garden bed; or rebuilding our three-bin compost system. Nickolas liked the compost system idea.

Over the years, Bounty Farm has showcased a number of composting options for educational purposes. The three-bin system breaks down the compost breakdown process into three sections, which results in a couple advantages: 

  1. It reduces the weight of material in your compost pile, 
  2. You can use it as needed, and 
  3. You can make compost throughout the year.

Our three-bin system needed to be rebuilt because the wood pallet walls had started to crumble. Project discussions sparked the idea of moving the compost bin to a more easily accessible location for staff and volunteers. Nickolas visited the farm to take measurements, make note of project material needs, and talk through the logistics of moving the system.

During the project planning phase, Nickolas interviewed our Farm Manager Reyna about the work Bounty does and how the community can help. Click here to read the Q & A.

Project kicks off

Next, Nickolas and his successor (the incoming senior patrol leader), visited the farm to kick off project preparations. They constructed and painted signs for each bin and selected and moved about 20 pallets the farm had on hand thanks to local volunteers who help us collect them each year.

A week later, the project day kicked off with about 25 youths and adults participating. Nickolas spearheaded the effort, organizing scouts into groups and providing guidance and assistance. The scouts laid out site dimensions, dug out trenches for the pallets to sturdily sit in, removed any protruding nails and broke down the old system for scrap.

After a few hours, the project was complete! We saw many hands make light work with this group. They even moved the compost from the old system into the new one to keep our system going. A big thank you to Nickolas and Troop 2 for their hard work, commitment, and service to the farm and our community! Congratulations to Nickolas for officially becoming an Eagle Scout, and for his next big adventure at Santa Rosa Junior College!

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