Bobby Nice is a K12-powered Boy Scout working on a project that is bigger than earning the rank of an Eagle Scout! He is clearing an invasive plant species out of the Dunwoody Nature Center in Atlanta, a task he has named the Hornaday Conservation Project.
“I’ve cleared 825 Chinese wisteria, Chinese privet, and English ivy from the nature center,” said Bobby, who has been working on his project for nearly a year and a half and plans to finish it this September.
Bobby is a rising ninth grader at Georgia Cyber Academy (GCA) and has been in scouting for nine years. His family enrolled him at GCA to experience a positive academic change and for the flexibility to pursue his interests.
“Bobby had been a student in private schools prior to coming to GCA, and I sought better administrative support,” said his mother, Michele. “Bullying and lack of positive administrative support that Bobby experienced in his prior schools – and concerns about those same issues should we enroll him in public school in our area – were the main reasons for enrolling him in GCA.”
Bobby has been an online student at GCA for five years. Education is a priority for Bobby, and GCA has been the perfect environment and curriculum for his learning style.
The Hornaday Conservation Project idea sparked from Bobby’s interest in nature and science.
“I got interested in science through my classes at school – it’s my favorite subject,” Bobby said. “I became interested in nature because of how it’s being destroyed, like by deforestation and overfishing. I want to help.”
Bobby’s father is a physics teacher and his mother formerly taught life science. Science a subject that is often talked about in their household.
“Bobby has always had an interest in science,” Michele said. “He became interested in nature after realizing how people’s actions hurt it, including wasting resources. By the end of his project in September, Bobby will have invested 275 individual hours into it, with a total of more than 500 hours invested from all parties involved. It has been great for him to have the flexibility of being a student at GCA for Bobby to pursue his project.”
His GCA teachers are supportive of his conservation efforts, showcasing Bobby and his project in the middle school advanced learners newsletter, and he has also received encouragement from other K12-powered students in the Conservation Club and their advisor, Mr. Tim Batiuk.
Michele is appreciative of GCA’s middle school principal, Rosie Lowndes, who has been very professional, supportive, and helpful, and is always open to making GCA an even better experience for Bobby.
“As a former teacher myself, I really like GCA’s curriculum and often recommend it to others,” Michele said. “A strong curriculum, great teachers, and parent involvement are keys to student success. With those, including educational supervision and encouragement at home, Bobby stays motivated and interested, and he enjoys learning with GCA. Bobby is also in the Advanced Learner Program, and it has suited his intellectual needs and supported his educational growth.”
Through his conservation project, Bobby has already earned the Complete Angler Award in fishing and the World Conservation Award. He has also completed requirements for several other awards, and he is currently working toward earning the National Outdoor Award in Conservation and the William T. Hornaday Badge Award.
Bobby has completed or helped in many services projects and plans to continue to serve his community as he gets older.
“In the future, I plan to continue doing service projects, including my own Eagle project, volunteering at a Boy Scout Summer Day Camp, and continuing to volunteer at Dunwoody Nature Center,” Bobby said. “For a future career, I might be a biologist.”
Bobby often posts updates on the Hornaday Conservation Project to his blog to promote conservation awareness and education of his project. Read Bobby’s latest blog posts here.