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Animal-friendly campus

A Brainerd Eagle Scout candidate is making the Central Lakes College campus in Brainerd animal-friendly. Joshua Hofmann has built 13 homes for birds and small mammals on the 121-acre campus near the Mississippi River. The sites range from small and close to the ground for Orchard Mason bees to a rooftop pad for the Common Nighthawk. The most time-consuming houses to build were the Northern Flicker nest boxes made of 2 x 10 lumber with inner walls offering horizontal grooves from top to bottom so flicker chicks can easily climb out. The nests sit about 12 feet up and at a 15-degree angle facing south toward an open area. Other houses built were two for Flying Squirrels, two for Robins or Eastern Phoebes, two for bats, and one for Barred Owls. Hofmann, 13, chose the animal-friendly campus theme for his Eagle Scout project. It is one of many steps to earning Eagle Scout status, which should be achieved by the time he reaches age 15. “I just wanted to do something that involves the outdoors and the animals that might find a good place to live,” said Hofmann, whose father Paul teaches in the CLC marine and small engine program. He is also a scout troop assistant.

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