The Friends of the Farm at Hilltop have a long history of partnership with the boy scout programs in Suffield, and Hilltop Farm was the place that Jack Fitzgerald chose to do his Eagle Scout project.
Many people have enjoyed spending time at the Hilltop Farm open space this year, walking the trails or bird watching. Jack’s project was planting 34 bird-friendly plants in the wetland area around the boardwalk. The plants will support the resident and migratory birds in the area by providing food (berries and seeds), shelter and nesting places, and were purchased with generous grants from the Connecticut Ornithological Association and the Hartford Audubon Society.
The project involved learning about the plants, mapping out the area, putting in stakes to mark where the plants would go and organizing the workday. Then, on a cold and rainy Sunday at the end of May, he and his fellow scouts in Troop 66, accompanying parents and members of his family, braved the weather and chest-high weeds, and carefully tucked each plant into the ground. Later in the week, Jack and his crew placed landscape fabric and mulch around each plant to help them survive.
Jack’s project will provide benefits to the community, both human and avian, for many years to come. The plants will attract and support birds, and hopefully people will enjoy seeing and hearing them. The populations of songbirds around the world have decreased dramatically, due mostly to climate change and habitat destruction. To learn how you can attract and support birds in your own yard, please check out the following websites: Audubon.org/news/how-to-make-your-yard-more-bird-friendly; thespruce.com/design-a-bird-friendly-landscape and nwf.org/garden-for-wildlife/attracting birds.