A Place to Sit and Enjoy the View

Boy Scout Jacob McKnight of Troop 32 from Westminster Presbyterian Church in Waterloo recently built new Leopold Benches for the Arboretum as his project to earn his Eagle Scout Award.



An example of A Leopold Bench at the Arboretum


Leopold benches are easy to build projects created by Aldo Leopold. Aldo was born in Burlington, IA, in 1887 and is considered by many to be the father of wildlife ecology and the United States’ wilderness system. Aldo Leopold was a conservationist, forester, philosopher, educator, writer, and outdoor enthusiast. You can learn more about Aldo here. You can also download the plans to make your own Leopold bench here.

Jacob thought the benches would be a great project to complete for the Arboretum as he had previously visited the Arboretum and suggested that there should be more benches for visitors to sit on. Jacob took the lead to solve the problem and looked up plans for Leopold benches on the internet. After comparing plans he selected one and got estimates for the amount of wood and hardware needed for the benches. He then gathered other scouts to help and adult leaders to supervise the group as they were using power tools.

For Jacob, one of the hardest parts was making sure the measurements were right and that the parts went together correctly. His favorite part of the project was learning about how to build the benches and then seeing the completed benches when they were done. Jacob is very happy to know that his work will be appreciated by all the visitors at the Arboretum!



2 thoughts on “A Place to Sit and Enjoy the View

  1. Beth, I don’t know if you wrote this article but I wonder if you know of our former volunteer John Miller and his role in building Leopold benches? I think he would be so delighted to know of this. How can we reply to these Scouts who are doing such wonderful things at the Arb?


    Sent from my iPad



    • Jan,

      I believe that John has stopped in the office a few times. I will see how I can share this with him. 🙂

      In regards to replying to the Scouts, you can always send an email to the office and we can share your comments with them via email. The Winnebago Council in Waterloo may also have a more direct way of contacting the troops or the Scouts themselves. 🙂


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