Boy Scout Darryl Donohue Jr. is working towards the rank of Eagle Scout and helping the food chain on St. Croix at the same time.
Donohue is helping save the home of the cave bat, Brachyphylla cavernarum, a night-time pollinator of fruit, vegetables and flowers.
Donohue has chosen clearing the vegetation around a tower housing the bats and removing the strangler fig that has taken root on the tower, threatening to cause it to fall apart, as his Eagle Scout service project.
To attain the rank of Eagle Scout the young man is required do a service project that benefits an organization other than Boy Scouts.
Scout Master William Tobias suggested Donohue contact the St. Croix Environmental Association to see if he could help with a project for the organization.
SEA has a small plot of land at 299-A Estate Barren Spot. The property has a well and a Danish-era stone water tower that once supported a windmill that pumped water from the well for either irrigation, or watering livestock, or both. Now the tower is a habitat for the bats.
“I was happy I had such a great opportunity for my service project,” Donohue said. “And it feels great having done this project.”
He expected the clearing he did in February to take longer but he had help with the right equipment and the work went fairly quick.
With advice from Renata Platenburg, a bat specialist from the University of Virgin Islands, Donohue will confirm the identity of the bat species in the tower and estimate the size of the population. He will also suggest some language for signs that will be erected at the bat tower as a permanent display for future visits by SEA members and the public.
Donohue, a 17-year-old senior at Good Hope Country Day School, said he has been in scouting since the fourth grade.
“I saw a brochure on Cub Scouts and thought. ‘Why not give it a shot?’” said Donohue, a soft spoken young man.
He said he enjoys camping and the camaraderie with friends he has made in Scouts.
“I reached a point where I realized I had time to become an Eagle Scout and decided to go all the way,” Donohue said.
Donohue explained to become an Eagle Scout he had to earn 21 merit badges. Those include badges for environmental science, personal fitness, citizenship in the community and more. Candidates must demonstrate that they live by the Scout Oath and Law. There will be a Court of Honors ceremony in early June, Donohue said.
He added earning the rank of Eagle looks good on a resume and shows commitment to a program.
He has applied to several colleges along the northeast coast of the United States. He is going in undecided as to what his major will be.
He is the son of Darryl and Sonia Donohue. He plays basketball and baseball for Good Hope Country Day. Donohue is in the Rotary Interact Club and has been in the quiz bowl, and he does odd-jobs after school at Good Hope Country Day.