PEPPERELL — George R. Geddes, a North Middlesex Regional High School junior and Boy Scout of Troop 26 for the past six years, became an Eagle Scout last month in a Court of Honor convened at Camp Split Rock in Ashburnham.
The son of Robert and Terry Geddes of Mt. Lebanon Street, his Eagle project was the identification of vernal pools in the Harry Rich Forest, the Keyes property off Oak Hill Street, and on Nashoba Trust conservation land. Among those he worked with was Conservation Commission Administrator Ellen Fisher, to whom Geddes gave an Eagle Scout Mentor Award.
His ceremony was classically Scout, held outdoors around a bonfire.
”I wanted a fire,” Geddes said. “You know, traditional Scouting things such as rope, fire, knives.”
He wears a braided rope on his wrist and intends to impart as many traditional skills as he can to younger Scouts, given his possession of Scouting’s highest award and cognizant of the responsibilities that go with it.
”Most younger Scouts don’t know much about these things,” the soft-spoken Geddes said. “Cooking. Knot-tying. It makes me mad. I’m trying to make the kids coming in know knots, how to light a fire, etc.”
Geddes said he became interested in vernal pools in the seventh grade.
The result is a thick notebook that includes photographs of salamander eggs and other little-known life from the forest, as well as an indexed geographical map he developed using a hand-held global satellite positioning (GPS) device. The project was certified by the Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program.
Geddes began his scouting career under tutelage of then-Cubmaster, now council member Clifford Taylor of Pack 14, Den 2. He joined Boy Scout Troop 26 and through a succession of Scoutmasters — George Ux, John Rovero and David St. Onge — earned his Tenderfoot, Second Class, First Class, Star, Life, and now Eagle status. St. Onge was master of ceremonies for last month’s elevation ceremony.
”The troop was small when I joined,” he said, recounting his six fellow members, “but in the past couple of years a lot of Scouts are joining.”
At Camp Split Rock, Rep. Robert Hargraves, R-Groton, presented Geddes with citations from the House of Representatives and Sen. Steven Panagiotakos, D-Leominster, from the Senate. Fisher presented him with a citation from the Board of Selectmen.
”I’m thankful to my parents for their support when needed and to Ellen (Fisher) for showing me what might be done,” he said.
”I’m very proud of George,” Terry Geddes said of her son. “This was his goal and I didn’t know much about, but I felt I wanted to do my best to help him reach it.”
”I feel the same way,” Robert Geddes said. “I’m pleased he showed initiative and picked this project.”
Geddes has worked at Camp Wanocksett in Jaffrey, New Hampshire, as a volunteer and for the past two years as a paid staff member. Oriented toward math and science, he is considering Worcester Polytechnical Institute or M.I.T. for further schooling.
Having joined Scouting at the urging of a childhood friend, Geddes recommends the program.
Asked why he wanted to achieve Eagle rank, he said simply it was “all about being the highest.”
Eagle Scout George Geddes, right, presents the mother’s pin and father’s pin to his parents, Robert and Terry Geddes, during his Court of Honor at Camp Split Rock, Ashburnham.
Eagle Scout George Geddes presents the mentor’s pin to Conservation Commission Administrator Ellen Fisher before Troop 26 and parents during his Court of Honor for his Eagle Scout presentation.
George Geddes takes the oath of an Eagle Scout before a bonfire at Camp Split Rock in Ashburnham during his Court of Honor at which he received his award.