Scouts help rescue injured bald eagle after coronavirus forces merit badge event venue change

A Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary rescue worker holds an injured bald eagle that Scouts spotted.

In these uncertain times as the country takes precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19, we know this is certain: Scouts will continue to help wherever and whenever they can.

Just look at the Scouts and Scouters in Wisconsin’s Bay-Lakes Council.

More than 700 youth had registered for the council’s annual “Pi Day” on March 14, a day for Scouts to work on 23 STEM-related merit badges and Nova awards at a local technical college. But as more reports of coronavirus cases increased, college officials decided to cancel it.

Event volunteers scrambled, and in less than two days had formulated a plan to livestream from the council office, so Scouts could still enjoy watching 19 science experiments, like making balloon rockets, creating Playdoh out of shaving cream and cornstarch and tossing Mentos mints in Diet Coke. (Pedro has done the same experiment!) Most of the virtual event was handled by adults, with the help of a few Scouts, and they shared with the Scouts watching on Facebook how they could duplicate the experiments at home.

When the event moved outside for some of the messier experiments, one of the Scouts spotted a bald eagle hopping around behind a dumpster. The Scouts and Scouters watched the eagle flounder to a nearby wooded area and lay down. Adult volunteers quickly searched online and found the Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary in Green Bay, Wis., to call. 

A sanctuary rescue team arrived, and the eagle jumped into a pond and floated across. Eventually, the rescue team was able to wrangle the bird and take it back to get checked out. They discovered it had an injured leg, likely from a fight with another animal. As they nurse the bird back to health, they are referring to it as “Scout.”

Talking with fellow Scouters after the rescue, Brittany Burmeister, Twin Lakes District director, says one can draw parallels from the rescue to the situation facing our country and the BSA.

“We’re standing tall, knowing we’re in hard times, but also knowing we can continue to change the world,” Burmeister says. “Maybe the eagle knew the Scout office was where it’d get the help it needed — it says a lot about the youth we have yet to impact.”

About Michael Freeman 201 Articles
Michael Freeman, an Eagle Scout, is associate editor of Boys’ Life, Scouting and Eagles’ Call magazines.