Avon Lake Eagle Scout Benefits Wildlife

Jack Fink, an Avon Lake High School senior and member of Boy Scout Troop 159, has installed a chimney swift tower at Black River Audubon Park in Elyria.

Fink researched how to build a tower, purchased the materials, presented his plans for approval to the City of Elyria building department, engineered the tower, and with the help of his family, friends, and troop members, erected the tower over the weekend of October 8-9.

“Jack is an impressive student. From the beginning, he remained committed to the project. Once he got approval, he took charge and worked through each step of the process,” said Rob Swindell, president of Black River Audubon Society.

Fink contacted Black River Audubon in January 2023 to inquire about any conservation opportunities, “I chose the Black River Audubon Society for my project because I like birds and I strongly support conservation, both of which align closely with the goals of the society.”

The traditional habitats of chimney swifts included caves and the hollow trees of old-growth forests, but as forests began to decline due to logging and farming, swifts made use of the chimneys—which provided shelter and nesting opportunities. Unfortunately, chimneys are no longer a part of modern homes and many old chimneys have been sealed off, resulting in a lack of roosting and nesting areas.

“Chimney swifts are an amazing species and have suffered great population losses. Towers like this provide a specialized habitat for the birds, increasing their opportunity for success. It looks like a simple structure, but its construction is very detailed. If it is not properly assembled, it won’t provide a safe environment for the swifts,” said Swindell.

Fink plans to study computer science in college with the goal of a career in software development.

Black River Audubon Society is an environmental non-profit organization consisting of over 550 members throughout the Lorain County area dedicated to conservation and restoration of ecosystems for birds and other wildlife.

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