Ben's World

~~ a journal of observations and thoughts ~~

Me drawing ...
Ben Scheele of Minnesota

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Bat House(s)

My brother Scott wanted to complete his eagle project. After he graduated from high school early about a month and a half ago, he decided for sure that he wanted to go through with it. He turns eighteen tomorrow. He will get his eagle scout rank. Here is the story how. He had the idea to install bird feeders at nursing homes. He discovered this wouldn't work for a few reasons, one being that the organization is a business, another being the logistics of maintaining a supply of bird food. I suggested bat houses. I had always wanted to install a bat house on our property, but never did. Scott researched and found the criteria for where they could be set up, and found some plans. Scott had the idea to install them at the Excelsior commons where the mosquito reduction would be most welcome. My mom pointed out that the Excelsior government would allow him to finish his project on a time frame that would make the war in Iraq seem quick and easy. She suggested a nearby church. Scott made contacts, and found our site. He asked me for help in making his plan look professional, and for some consultation on the design, construction, and mounting of the houses. I used SolidWorks to draw up the plans, and while it was mostly for show, it did help us better understand how things needed to fit together, and allowed us to easily modify the design to suit our purposes for the mounting process.

I helped document the project, since I'm such a shutterbug. He needed to show he had adult supervision during the assembly process, and since our parents were in DC, that responsibility fell to me. I basically just made jokes and shared trivia on the little brown bats, our future tenants.

I also documented the installation process, which was pretty fun too. Another group of guys (who are not afraid of heights) assembled to haul around a twenty foot ladder all over the church's property, up and down hills with deep snowdrifts, over slush covered frozen ponds, and into the woods to bolt the houses in place. They installed eight houses in total. Four were of the above design, while four were of a smaller variety that Home Depot donated. It felt good to finally install some bat houses (though I never climbed the ladder once).

Thanks to Scott's diligence, determination, and his writing and leadership skills, the prodding of several of his fellow scouts (who all got their eagles as well), a few helpful and timely suggestions, and a lot of friends, family, and community members who were happy to lend a hand (and a saw, and a drill, etc.), Scott has completed his project in just under a month. It was a good feeling just to be a part of it. I guess that's the whole point of scouting: to become the kind of person who can bring people together to make significant things happen, all while having a good time.

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Blogger Will said...

Saw you over on

I got to make a couple of these. Thanks for the plans.


Wednesday, February 20, 2008  
Blogger Ben Scheele said...

Hey Will, I'm glad you'll be able to put the plans to use. Although I can't remember where we found the plans originally, I think they were online. Some notes: make sure the rough part of the cedar is on the inside, and also, we added another board to make it easier to mount them on the trees. You could also attach them to a tall pole with a guard to prevent animals from climbing it. I recommend you read about requirements for easy habitation. Good luck with your project.

It's kind of funny; I actually found out that it was posted on myself just a day afterwards, since on a whim I checked google analytics and saw that I had gotten a ton of traffic from there. I subscribe to that magazine, but I don't always keep up on the blog. I've made a couple projects out of MAKE, and I would love to have a project of mine published in it someday. I guess this is a good start.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008  

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