Zoo getting new ‘eagle’s nest’ thanks to Eagle Scout candidate

Published: Apr. 18, 2023 at 4:18 PM EDT
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WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - A 17-year-old looking to earn an Eagle Scout rank is the force behind a new “eagle’s nest” at Watertown’s Zoo New York.

If you’ve been to the zoo, you’ve likely seen a small spot where you climb some stairs to see just how big an eagle’s nest is and how big an eagle’s wingspan is.

It’s a popular photo-op spot.

Now, Troop 496 Boy Scout Richard Ballard is building a new eagle’s nest.

“I have always seen little kids, even myself, who will stretch their arms out at the eagle’s nest,” he said.

Ballard wants to give back to the community and earn an Eagle Scout rank by replacing the eagle’s nest with a taller, bigger, wheelchair-accessible version.

He shared his plans with people in his community, who then donated the materials for the new eagle’s nest pavilion.

“This newness is so exciting because it’s going to be a whole different population to experience the outdoors and what it means to be an eagle per se,” said Ballard.

The old eagle’s nest was 3 feet tall. Once the project is completed, it will be 9 feet off the ground and have a ramp instead of stairs.

“When I think of nature, I think of inclusivity and I really want everyone to be able to have that opportunity to enjoy nature,” said Ballard.

Ballard is building the project with some fellow scouts from Troop 496 and can’t wait for it to be complete.

“It’s going to be so exciting to see kids enjoy this eagle, eagle pavilion, and see all the good memories that they will be making,” he said.

The eagle’s nest pavilion is expected to be finished by this weekend.