In this new year, Lilburn resident Caleb Lux will continue the long tradition of excellence in his Boy Scouts troop and will receive two of scouting’s most prestigious honors.
Lux, 16, a junior at Parkview High School and a member of Troop 580, said in early December that he expected to achieve the rank of Eagle Scout in early 2021, and at some later time he’ll be recognized as perhaps the final recipient in Scouts history of the William T. Hornaday Award.
“It’s a little surreal how I’m going to be one of the last people ever to receive this prestigious award,” said Lux, the son of Dee and Dave Lux. “I still haven’t had time to fully process it yet.”
Since establishing the Eagle Scout honor more than a century ago, there have been 2.5 million Eagle Scouts recognized, which represents only 4 % of all Scouts. An even smaller sample size rise to the ranks of Hornadays.
“Eagle Scots are relatively rare, but Hornaday recipients are even more so. They make up less than .07 percent of all scouts,” said troop council representative Donna Kaplan. “He will probably be the last Hornaday recipient in our council and the nation, as it has been replaced by a new award.”
Going forward, the award – which recognizes community service in conservation and ecology – will be known as the Distinguished Conservation Service Award. The Hornaday was founded in 1915 and some 1,100 honors have been awarded.
For his Eagle Scout project, Lux planned, funded, staffed and built an extensive habitat for local amphibian species at Simpsonwood Park in Peachtree Corners. Lux said the project also serves to educate the community about local wildlife living by the Creekside.
Lux said that his project – which attracted some two dozen volunteers over the work days he scheduled – consisted of three targets. His first task was expanding a small pond in the park that tended to dry up about the time local amphibians would lay their eggs there.
“I went to the area, marked it all out and deepened that pond all around by a foot,” said Lux of the “fertile pond.” “When it rains, all that rainwater will collect in that pond and will hopefully it will be deep enough that when amphibians lay their eggs in there it will be sustained and not dry up before they hatch.”
The second part includes what Lux calls “amphibian hideouts,” tin sheets staked in the ground that provide habitat for “salamanders and other critters burrowed under there.” And the final aspect of the project deals with “frog pipes,” one-foot-long PVC pipes installed to provide protection and warmth.
Lux’s inclusion in the ranks of Eagle Scouts is just the latest honor earned by Troop 580 in its relatively young 25 years of existence. More than 100 members from the troop have earned the Eagle Scout honor, and Kaplan said there are still several Eagle Scouts on the troop’s current roster.
“It’s unusual to have so many in that many years,” said Kaplan.
Once Lux completes the paperwork and enters the Scouts court of honor, he said he wants to remain active in scouting.
“I definitely would like to continue going on different activities and campouts that are going on, especially if there’s another high-adventure activity going on,” he said. “In the past I went to the high-adventure camp called Seabase in Florida (Florida Natural High Adventure Sea Base, Islamorada, Florida). It’s one of the four high-adventure camps BSA offer and I’d like to go to another high adventure camp again next year when it’s safe to do so.”
“He’s been a very good Scout and he’s an asset to our troop,” Kaplan said. “Whatever he does to continue will be welcome. He’s served in several roles and leadership positions within the troop and he’s done a fantastic job.”
Having previously worked on his fellow Scouts’ Eagle Scout projects, Lux knew what he needed to do to make sure the build in Simpsonwood Park was successful.
“There have been Eagle Scout projects before this that I’ve worked on,” he said. “It requires a whole lot of micro-management because there are several different tasks that have to be completed at the same time and you can’t be everywhere at once.
“So you need to designate a task and a time to do it because you can’t be with them 100% of the time. For my project, there’s a whole lot of habitats being done at the same time there are a whole lot of different jobs being done. And I have to micro-manage all that. I paired older Scouts with younger Scouts and gave them a job and older scouts were responsible enough to guide the younger scouts to do what needs to be done…I had a very good group working with me.”