Bat house project leads to Eagle



June 19, 2017 - 12:00 AM

Users of the Lehigh Portland Trail may have noticed the peculiar birdhouse-looking structures near the east trailhead, along the cliffs overlooking Elks Lake.
Those are the wrong-winged creatures, notes Coury Sager.
Sager spearheaded the effort to build the two bat houses, as part of his Eagle Scout project.
With the bat houses now finished, Sager learned earlier this month he was accepted to become Iola Troop 55’s newest Eagle Scout.
He was allowed to ring the Eagle Scout bell Tuesday during a ceremony at Quivira Scout Ranch near Sedan. A Court of Honor ceremony will be held in the near future, his mother, Deborah Sager, said.
“It’s been a fun project,” Coury said.
THE BAT house project came after a fortuitous meeting with Pastor Steve Traw.
Coury was visiting Traw as part of a separate fund raiser. Traw has built bat houses for years, and was working on one when the young Boy Scout arrived.
“Coury thought it was birdhouse, and Pastor Steve explained what it really was.”
In search of a community service project, the final step necessary to earning Eagle Scout status — the highest rank a Boy Scout can achieve — Coury figured Iola could use a bat house or two.
The original plans were to erect the bat houses near Riverside Park.
But when Coury’s twin brother, Alec — a 2016 Eagle Scout — helped oversee construction of a shelter along the Lehigh Trail, Coury decided to shift gears.
“I knew there was a mosquito problem,” Coury said.
TRAW supplied the design, and Coury solicited the help of Iolan Jack Croghan to help cut the pieces.
Coury’s fellow Scouts stained and assembled them in short order.
“It didn’t take them long,” Deborah said.
Next up was erecting two tall poles at the recommended height for such bat houses.
The problem was, the rocky, limestone trails were hardly conducive to digging holes.
Coury found his solution by reaching out to his uncle, John Sager, one of the key volunteers who helped build and develop the Lehigh Trail system.
John Sager poured a pair of concrete pads to support the poles and bat houses.
The project was completed in April.
The project was completed in April.
“The rest of the time was waiting on paperwork,” Deborah said.
COURY’S achievement is all the more impressive when considering his physical ailments.
He suffers from diabetes and down’s syndrome, but lets neither slow his schedule.
“He did everything all the other Scouts did,” Deborah said. “I’d go along for supervision, but he did all of the work.”
In fact, Coury was so insistent he do all the work, he banned his mom from assisting with the bat houses.
“I was his fetcher and carrier,” she said with a grin.
Coury, 15, will enter the 10th grade at Iola High School.
“It was nice to see both (Alec and Coury) earn their Eagle Scouts at this age,” Deborah said. “They’re about at the age where they get their driver’s licenses, and get so busy they’ll find other things to do. They might never have finished.”
Coury figures he will continue working on other Boy Scout projects, even though he’s reached the pinnacle.
“I like it,” he said. “My favorite part is hanging out with my troop.”

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