Scouts explore nature in unlikely place

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Rhode Island Resource Recovery’s (RIRRC) Central Landfill may be New England’s largest such facility, but it’s also home to more than 100 species of wildlife, as the Boy Scouts of Troop 14 in Bellingham, Massachusetts recently discovered.

While the landfill may be known for a mountain of trash, RIRRC has taken steps to ensure that native species can thrive around their facility. With roughly 1,200 acres of property, of which about 270 acres are used for dumping, the area provides a home for many plants and animals. The RIRRC has placed bird boxes, natural plantings, and pollinator gardens for species to use.

On May 6, as part of the scouts’ community service efforts, the troop met with RIRRC’s Education and Outreach Manager, Krystal Noiseux. She outlined three projects the scouts would participate in; cleaning retention ponds of debris, monitoring the property’s 25 bird boxes for eastern bluebirds and tree swallows, and making observations of wildlife such as deer, fox, coyote, turkeys and their identifying markings such as footprints and droppings.

Scouts were outfitted in cleanup gear and given instructions of what to do. They then spent several hours in rainy weather accomplishing their tasks. The hours spent working may be used for the scouts’ rank advancement, which requires a certain amount of community service as they work towards the rank of Eagle Scout.

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