Stocker Earns Rank of Eagle Scout
Outdoorsman’s Eagle project may help bats fight white nose syndrome.
Kevin Stocker, son of West Caldwell residents Robert and Colleen Stocker, and member of Boy Scout Troop 6, Caldwell, has achieved the rank of Eagle Scout. His achievement was recognized on both Sunday, July 17, at a Court of Honor Ceremony at Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament Church, Roseland, and on Jan. 16, at the Caldwell-West Caldwell Board of Education meeting. More than 150 people, including Troop 6 scouts, friends, family, clergy and more, attended the ceremony, led by Scoutmaster Stan Rogacki.
Stocker attained the Eagle Scout rank by fulfilling the requirements in areas of leadership, community service, outdoor skills, and more, including the advancement through the ranks of Tenderfoot, Second Class, First Class, Star Scout, Life Scout and, finally, Eagle. In addition, Stocker served as a Den Chief, Patrol Leader and Senior Patrol Leader within Troop 6 and attained more than the necessary 21 merit badges required to earn the rank of Eagle. The award is a performance-based achievement with well-maintained standards. Only about five percent of all Boy Scouts earn the Eagle Scout rank.
To achieve his Eagle Scout, Stocker with the help of his fellow scouts, designed, built and installed four multi-chambered bat houses that will provide alternate living conditions and help combat the spread of white nose syndrome, a malady that has caused the death of more than one million bats.
The houses, which are installed at Hilltop Reservation, will provide a safe living space for the bats, helping to reduce the spread of White Nose Syndrome. The project required nearly 200 hours of discussion with volunteers and Hilltop Reservation representatives, permits, creation of detailed bat house designs, coordination of fellow scout volunteers, acquisition of materials, and transportation and installation of the houses.
“Bats are important to our ecosystem, and we need to protect them,” said Stocker. “They help reduce the spread of infectious diseases by eating the insects that carry them. When we last checked, all of the houses were being used by bats, so that is a good sign.”
A recent graduate of James Caldwell High School, Stocker currently attends Rider University.