Local teen takes on Eagle Project

Ryan Everett uses a fire hose to clean off part of a blacktop at Northlake Hills Elementary School Friday morning as part of his Eagle Scout Community Service Project. February 14, 2020. Bobby Block / The Signal.

Just a little over a month before his 18th birthday, Ryan Everett, of Castaic, is taking on his Eagle Scout project with the Boy Scout Troop 888 by giving a local elementary school an extra layer of protection.

When Everett was searching for a project that would meet the requirements to become an Eagle Scout, the highest rank in Boy Scouts, he learned of an issue Northlake Hills Elementary School had with rattlesnakes coming onto campus through the fencing.

Members of Boy Scout Troop 888 reinforce sections of fencing at Northlake Hills Elementary school in Castaic Friday morning as part of Ryan Everett’s Eagle Scout community service project. Their goal was to prevent rattlesnakes from entering campus from the surrounding hills. February 14, 2020. Bobby Block / The Signal.

“We’re putting up 680 feet of snake fencing around the school and, on top of that, we’re also going to paint the circles on the blacktop where kids line up before school or during emergencies,” said Everett.

During the warmer months, snakes come out of hibernation to look for food, and on the hottest days, snakes look for shade, said John Lauermann, a Castaic resident snake expert. He added that they can wander onto the campus looking for food or shelter.

Vivian Fiss, principal of Northlake Elementary School, said she can’t recall a situation when a child was bitten, but students have come across snakes in the play area. She added that snakes have even made their way into classrooms.

“We have all this lush landscape surrounding us,” said Fiss. “With that comes critters who wander onto campus. It’s not just snakes, we see bunnies, which the kids love, and lizards, too.”

She said she is grateful for Everett’s project because it will help ensure the safety of the students while they’re on campus.

To put this project together, Everett said he had 680 feet of welded wire fencing donated from two Lowe’s locations in the Santa Clarita Valley, white paint donated from Dunn Edwards and painting supplies donated from Sherman Williams.

Ryan Everett from Boy Scout Troop 888 (Right) along with Firefighters from Fire Station 149 after prepping the black top to be repainted as a part of Everett’s Eagle Scout project. Bobby Block / The Signal.

To prepare the blacktop for painting, Everett had help from firefighters of Fire Station 149 in Castaic to power wash the ground, so it would be free from any loose gravel and dirt.

Everett, along with his father and other Scouts from his troop, spent the weekend putting up the fencing and painting the blacktop.

“I’m a ‘heart attack Eagle,’ so I have to motor through this,” Everett said, which means he only has a short period of time to get the project and other requirements completed before his 18th birthday. After he turns 18, he won’t be eligible for the Eagle Scout honor.

Everett joined Cub Scouts when he was in third grade after his friends convinced him to join. From there, he entered Boy Scouts in fifth grade and continued until today.

“After I graduate I still want to come help Scouts’ projects, but I’m happy to be ‘Eagling out,’” he said. “It’s a nostalgic feeling because I started really young, and I’m happy to be able to go this far.”

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