Eagle Scout Project Completed at Reed Turner Woodland Preserve in Long Grove
A teenager from Long Grove recently completed his project, "Hiking the Trail: Ecosystems Unearthed," to earn his Eagle Scout rank by researching, designing and installing new ecosystem informational signage at Reed Turner Woodland Preserve in Long Grove. The property is part of the Long Grove Park District and is located on Old McHenry Road in Long Grove.
Reuben Gutmann, 17, Long Grove, is a senior at Stevenson High School. He is a member of Boy Scout Troop 79, which meets at Hope Lutheran Church, Long Grove. Troop 79 is affiliated with Northeast Illinois Council, Highland Park. The Scoutmaster for the troop is Mr. Richard Hammon, Buffalo Grove.
The project consists of seven ecosystem signs: Woodland, Savanna, Sedge Meadow, Ravine, Prairie, Stream, and Lake.
As for the inspiration behind his project, Reuben indicated he was looking for a way to combine his love of math with his love for the outdoors, both of which progressively developed through his involvement in scouts since 1st grade. After competing in a national mathematics competition in June, ARML, he decided that settling for any project that did not incorporate math would simply not be fully-inclusive of his interests. During a meeting this summer with Jane Wittig, President of the Long Grove Park District, she and Reuben decided that informational signs about each of the ecosystems would be a perfect addition to the Reed-Turner Preserve. The concept for the signs evolved slightly from the original, but what stayed consistent throughout was the inclusion of a nature-relevant statistic at the bottom of each sign.
Reuben had several adults assist in project planning. Ken Wittig, Long Grove, aided in the revision of the signage and Mike Lawler, Vernon Hills, was integral in the woodworking required to assemble the signs. Several fellow scouts helped carry out the project as well. They included: Eric Kang, Buffalo Grove; Scott Glassberg, Buffalo Grove; Andrew Hammon, Buffalo Grove; and Brian Weisberg, Long Grove.
Financial support for the project was provided in part by the Rotary Club of Long Grove, Kildeer, and Hawthorn Woods. Additional funding was raised through Reuben's popcorn sales. Several food donations were also provided by Mariano's in Buffalo Grove and Sunset Foods in Long Grove.
Reuben has earned 127 merit badges thus far in advance of working on his Eagle Scout project. The number required for an Eagle Scout is 21. "I have always seen merit badges as an opportunity to explore new concepts. Without merit badges, I would never have taken a fifty-mile bike ride or a twenty-mile hike," said Reuben.
Outside of Scouting, Reuben is a member of the Stevenson Math Team, Treasurer of Kiva Club (a micro-financing organization that provides microloans to entrepreneurs in developing countries), Vice President of Economics Club, and a trumpet player in Honor Band, Jazz Band, and Marching Band.