Thomas Fire Recovery Service Project: Bird Habitat

In mid-December, scouts from Troop 234 and Webelos scouts from our affiliated Cub Scout pack, Pack 3234, engaged in a “Conservation Good Turn.” Under the guidance of local conservationists, scouts fanned out across the Upper Campus of the Ojai Valley School in the Upper Ojai Valley to construct feeding and watering stations for native birds whose habitat and feeding sources had been destroyed by the fire.

Even though the fire had moved west, smoke was still in the air. Scouts wore face masks and appropriate clothing, and helicopters and a hot-shot crew monitored the area to ensure safety.

The project the first in a series of restoration efforts aimed at helping the school recover from the Thomas Fire, which destroyed two of the school’s buildings and damaged a half-dozen others.

Sycamore Canyon: First Hike of the Year

On Saturday, Scouts from Troop 234, accompanied by Arrow of Light scouts from Pack 3234, began the year with a seven-mile hike up Sycamore Canyon in Point Mugu State Park. With a maximum elevation change of 120 feet, it was a comfortable way to start the year and include our incoming scouts as well. It also gave scout William Smith a opportunity to complete a key requirement for advancement.

(One of the unique aspects of Troop 234 is the way the entire troop will get behind each scout in their effort to advance and to capture the full scouting experience.)

The troop rarely takes part in outdoor activities in heavily-trafficked areas, but the location of the park – and the fact that many other trails in the region had been damaged or closed by the recent fire and flooding – meant that Sycamore Canyon was especially busy. The trail, used by hikers, mountain bikers, and runners alike, offered the troop a unique opportunity to learn and practice trail etiquette, how to properly share a trail with a range of other people.

The park is well-managed, the trail is patrolled by rangers on mountain bikes, and we agreed that the park would be an excellent site for a family campout at some point in the future. Point Mugu State Park is yet another example of the wealth of outdoor opportunities right in Troop 234’s own backyard.