[Vision2020] Caturday (November 23, 2013)

Tom Hansen thansen at moscow.com
Sat Nov 23 05:29:27 PST 2013

Courtesy of the Frederick News-Post (Frederick, Maryland) at:



Scout's love of cats inspires Eagle Scout project

A New Market teen hopes his Eagle Scout project will provide shelter for feral cats.

Zachary Grenier, 16, knew when he got his own cat, Reebok, that he wanted his Scouting project to help the animals he loves.

About two years ago, his grandmother found four kittens, including Reebok, in a barn. She took them to the Animal Welfare League of Frederick County and the organization helped by vaccinating, spaying and neutering them at a low cost. They also helped with inexpensive litter and food.

Zachary adopted Reebok from the group and picked a project that would help it as a way to return the favor.

The Animal Welfare League traps, spays or neuters and then releases feral cats to reduce overpopulation of wild colonies. It also vaccinates animals they catch to prevent rabies and other diseases, according to Carla Hodge, the group's Fixing Frederick's Felines coordinator.

"You know they love what they're doing because they're all volunteers," Zachary said of the group's members. "That's really what makes the big difference."

He organized the construction of two feeding stations and three shelters for wild cats. He finished construction in anticipation of Feral Cat Day, which was Oct. 16.

Zachary took the structures to the Animal Welfare League in October to demonstrate to visitors how the shelters work and to distribute plans for building them. The league placed them in Brunswick on Sunday.

"We were very, very pleased and happy to have Zach help us," Hodge said, adding that the shelters will help keep the animals they care for warm and dry in the winter months.

Building them went smoothly overall, Zachary said, but he did learn to come up with creative solutions to the problems that did pop up.

At one point, a piece of wood was cut too short by about an inch and a half, a major measurement error. The team could have just bought another piece of wood, but instead came up with the idea to shave wood off other areas and caulk it back together to the correct length.

"Sometimes we had to just keep going with what we were doing," Zachary said, even if plans didn't work out exactly as anticipated.

Being frugal with materials allowed him to donate a remainder of $450 directly to the Animal Welfare League.

Zachary had done projects with wood before, he said, but this was a little different because everything needed to fit together perfectly.

"It was almost like a jigsaw puzzle, cutting it all out," Zachary said.

Zachary's father and Scoutmaster of his troop, Michael Grenier, said that an Eagle project to benefit cats is out of the ordinary. Grenier has worked with Scouts who have built trails, put up signs and done projects for birds.

"I've never seen anything for cats," he said.

Grenier added that it's always preferable when a Scout comes up with the project himself, like Zachary did, because it's better that they follow their own interests.

"He knew right away ... when he got the cat that this is what he wanted to do for the project," Grenier said.

Zachary will find out Wednesday when he presents his project to Scout leaders if he will become an Eagle Scout. Grenier said he expected his son to succeed.

If Zachary does become an Eagle Scout, he will be the seventh of seven founding members of Troop 628 to do so.



Seeya 'round town, Moscow, because . . .

"Moscow Cares" (the most fun you can have with your pants on)
Tom Hansen
Moscow, Idaho

"There's room at the top they are telling you still 
But first you must learn how to smile as you kill 
If you want to be like the folks on the hill."

- John Lennon

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