Tristan Kolb of Madison started in Scouting when he was in kindergarten, joining the St. Mary Cub Scout Pack 428. The Xavier junior is now an Eagle Scout, the highest achievement one can attain from the Boy Scouts of America.
He was awarded the distinction during a virtual Board of Review in August.
Kolb enjoys outdoor activities such as camping, hiking and biking. Nature is important to him, and for the past six years he has been a steward for several osprey nests in the state. He has regularly observed and reported on these nests throughout the nesting season.
His interest in ospreys was spurred on by a family friend, Don Parrott of Bethany, a longstanding supporter of birds and the Connecticut Audubon Society. His Eagle Scout project then grew out of that passion.
Tristan worked with the Branford Land Trust osprey program to build a new nesting platform, bring it to the marshes of Branford and set it up on a chilly March morning in 2019.
“I wanted to do something to benefit the community with respect to nature and especially with the osprey population,” Tristan said. “The resurgence of the osprey population in Connecticut is such a positive issue. Each year the ospreys return to the same nest to lay their eggs and raise their chicks. To add a new nesting structure to the estuary marshes will help entice and maintain a healthy local osprey population for many years.”
The Branford Land Trust creates and maintains nesting sites and offers educational programs on the life cycle of the osprey, which live about seven to 10 years, can grow to two feet in length, weigh three or four pounds and have a wingspan up to six feet. They also are referred to as “fish hawks,” because they almost exclusively eat fish.
“It was a great experience to create a new osprey platform to replace a rotten one, build the platform and then transport the platform, pole and support beam to the new location,” Tristan said.
No ospreys nested there in 2019, but a pair found it this spring and hatchlings were spotted in the nest. Tristan also will be the steward for the platform he helped build.
The Branford Land Trust says it maintains about 30 nesting platforms in the marshes of Branford.
“I am very proud of what Tristan has accomplished in his 12 years in scouting and especially with his achievement of the rank of Eagle Scout,” Tristan’s mother, Karen, said. “As a child, I was a Girl Scout for many years, and I understand the immense benefits from scouting. I had hoped Tristan would benefit as much as I did, and he has. The Boy Scouts have definitely helped to further instill a strong sense of community service and volunteerism within Tristan. It also ignited a fine sense of adventure.”
Along his path to Eagle Scout, Tristan earned 31 merit badges, (10 more than the Eagle Scout requirement), his mother said. He serves as the Senior Patrol Leader and Historian for Boy Scout Troop 428.
And now he is a part of history. Only about 5% of all Scouts earn Eagle Scout honors, according to the Boys Scouts of America Connecticut Yankee Council.
His project also caught the eye of Channel 8, which interviewed him. The video report also had an image of him on the news station’s set with other Scouts in 2012.
By Jeff Otterbein