While Boy Scouts enjoy a well-established connection with the outdoors through hiking, camping, and other activities, Trevor Burke wanted to demonstrate his love for nature through preservation and conservation.
Burke, now a recent graduate from the St. Mark School of Texas and a few years removed from launching an environmentally-focused Eagle Scout project, has become an advocate for protecting nature.
His speaking engagements have included the 2019 EarthX Conference and the TEDxKids talks in 2018 at SMU, where he’s now a student.
“We met him and discovered how outstanding he is,” said Keith Nix, who does community outreach for EarthX.
In the spring of 2015, Burke organized an Eagle Scout project to protect an endangered 300-mile-long, tall-grass ecosystem running from the Red River in North Texas to San Antonio.
His work began with a conversation about the prairie with staff at the Connemara Conservancy in Allen.
“I realized the intensity of how endangered it was and gained a true motivation and passion for protecting the Blackland Prairie,” the Scout said.
Burke, who first visited the prairie when he was 11, said it looked and felt nothing like any other natural scene or preserve he ever visited.
“After learning how in danger it was, I became inspired and motivated to protect and preserve the life on the prairie,” he said.
Burke, a member of Troop 570 in Dallas, spent more than 150 hours planning and organizing more than 25 volunteers to help clear acres of pecan trees that could fuel devastating wildfires. He also raised a flock of quails in the living room of his family’s house to repopulate the species in the prairie.
He organized other projects to remove invasive species and restore the native wildflowers of the Twelve Hills Nature Center and reduce erosion of the Connemara Conservancy.
Burke’s work brought him recognition as well as his Eagle Scout status. He earned Eagle Scout of the Year for 2018 and 2019.
“When you go to a park and see trees everywhere, there is a certain feeling of the summer breeze on your face, looking out and seeing the green grass, the clear stream of water nearby.,” he said. “ There’s an innate joy in that. I think it’s important we protect and preserve that.”
Danny Gallagher is a frequent writer for EarthX, a nonprofit working to educate and inspire people to pursue a more sustainable future.