Pictured from left to right are Jaylen Christensen, Chance Christensen, Jacob McCleary, Carlin Christensen, Cody Christensen and Janeal Christensen (Bureau of Land Management photograph)
CALIENTE, Nev.–When it came to selecting his Eagle Scout project, Troop 516 Boy Scout Chance Christensen turned to the Bureau of Land Management’s Caliente Field Office.
“I was looking for a project when Scoutmaster Nick Pay told me the field office wanted to install a kiosk at the Oak Springs Summit Trilobite Site,” the 15-year-old said Wednesday.
Located just off U.S. Highway 93 about 12 miles south of Caliente, the popular public site is rich with the fossil remains of six types of trilobites that thrived when Nevada was a shallow ocean.
“Chance first went to the trilobite site when he was in elementary school so he was excited to be able to contribute,” said Janeal Christensen, Chance’s mother.
With guidance from his father Cody, then 14-year-old Chance fabricated and constructed the tubular steel kiosk erected at the site in late April. He also designed the kiosk’s interpretive materials.
“I’ve never had anybody learn welding so easily and quickly,” Mr. Christensen said. “He ran some practice beads. Then I burned a rod while we talked about the proper angle and how to keep it in front of the puddle. The next time, Chance’s bead was almost as good as mine – it wasn’t that easy for me!”
“The work looks like it was done by a professional,” said Caliente Field Manager Chris Carlton. “We hope people will stop for a moment when they visit the site to see what a remarkable job Chance has done.”
This summer, Chance will submit his completed project to the Cathedral Gorge District’s Eagle Scout Board of Review for evaluation. “We base our determination on a project’s long-term benefit to the community or organization, in this case the BLM; as well as the scout’s leadership role in its development,” said Mike Sparrow, chair of the Cathedral Gorge Advancement Committee.
A Utah National Parks Council review will follow, after which the project will be submitted to the Boy Scouts of America National Office in Irving, Texas, for additional scrutiny and final approval. Chance would then expect to receive a certificate documenting his rank as Eagle Scout and become a lifetime member of the Eagle Scouts.