A new environmental addition to the City of Marco Island’s Mackle Park was installed on Wednesday, October 6, 2010. An American Osprey pole with nest platform was erected courtesy of Lee County Electric Cooperative (LCEC) for Boy Scout Ricky Grootveld’s Eagle Scout project.
Ricky Grootveld, 16 years old and a Lely High School junior, was “happy and excited” to see the hole drilled and the 45-foor pole erected by LCEC, and to see his design and his effort come to fruition. He said he has always worked side by side with his Dad and that is how he knew how to go about constructing the platform. With the help of three other boy scouts, including Trevor Conte, who was with Ricky when the pole went up, Ricky built the nesting platform in his family’s garage. The whole troop of Scouts will help in the planting of rare palms.
Ricky is an avid outdoorsman who enjoys camping, hiking and kayaking. He is an “A” student, in the drumline of the Lely High School Trojan Marching Band, the captain of the JROTC Primary Color Guard, on the JROTC Drill Team and a member of Marco Island’s Boy Scout Troop # 234. He and his parents own and live on a working palm tree farm in East Naples and he regularly has close encounters with native wildlife. This outdoorsman background led him to choosing the Eagle Scout project to construct an osprey nesting platform and also plant a rare palm tree landscape in Mackle Park for our community to enjoy. He has constructed the platform per Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission specifications. Pieces of limbs and twigs were placed in the platform since it is known to encourage an osprey to nest. The rare palm and plant landscape design will be completed near the end of October. Plant species chosen will be examples of natives and rare plants residents can use as examples for their own yards. The plants will have identification signs. The goal of an Eagle Scout project must be a long-term benefit to the community, such as enhancing the environment and educational outreach, both of which are covered in this project.
The project area is located at the southern end of the Mackle Park Lake on the southeast corner of the lake. American Osprey feed regularly on the fish in Mackle Park, although no nests have been observed in this park in recent history. In the vicinity of Marco Island, ospreys typically nest on the highest point near a water body – many nests are seen in waterways on navigational signs, in tall Norfolk Pines in residential areas and, occasionally, on antennas or towers. Since the ospreys are present regularly at Mackle Park, creating this artificial nesting habitat will encourage an osprey pair to build a nest and raise young. An example of a successful artificial nesting platform can be seen at Tigertail Beach Park and along State Road 92 across the Goodland Bridge where LCEC has placed nesting discs atop the power poles.
LCEC has long promoted the installment of artificial nesting platforms for the purpose of moving the birds away from their power poles and lines. Since power poles are usually the highest structure in urban areas, ospreys frequently build atop the dangerous poles and wires. Mortality to ospreys from power lines occurs and also causes power outages and other maintenance issues. Over the years, creating a compatible platform away from power lines has lessened osprey deaths due to flight into wires. It is a win-win situation for the protected osprey and the maintenance of the electric lines.
For more information of this project or if you are interested in creating an osprey platform, please contact Nancy Richie, Environmental Specialist, City of Marco Island at 239-389-5003 or [email protected]