Southeast Texas has a new Eagle Scout and he’s paving the way for future generations to enjoy one of the area’s most pristine parks.
Parker Meek, 18, of Beaumont is a seasoned scout, having traveled the country, attending the 100th anniversary national jamboree, sea camp in Florida, and Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico — arguably scouting’s greatest outdoor achievement — not just once, but twice.
So when it came time to do an Eagle Scout project that would put the final touches on his illustrious scouting career, Meek looked close to home.
“One of the places I grew up hunting and spent a lot of time was the J.D. Murphree Wildlife Management Area,” Meek said.
After years of enjoying the park, Meek thought it was only right he try to preserve the area.
“Along the Intracoastal Waterway, basically the water over time from the tugs and the wake they make had eroded up to 50 feet of waterfront on each side,” he said.
The erosion was slowly chipping away at one of Meek’s favorite spots. To stop it, he’d have to play Mother Nature’s game.
“The silt, basically the mud, is so fine that it slips between the rock jetties,” Meek said. “And so we planted short cord grass between the jetty and the existing shoreline.”
In an area only accessible by boat, Meek found a “donor site” where he and his fellow scouts took clumps of short cord grass to transplant them to where the J.D. Murphree WMA needed it most. With the help of J.D. Murphree biologists, Meek re-planted the necessary foliage.
“We ended up doing three rows of between 700 and 800 feet of short cord grass,” he said. “We just planted it in there. We went and saw it a couple months ago, and it’s doing pretty well.”
It seems the time Meek spent at J.D. Murphree and his love of the salty air and water will follow him along his career path. Meek is a freshman at Texas A&M Galveston where he’s studying maritime law and transportation.
“I’m actually going to school to be a boat captain,” he said.
Meek went on to say the Boy Scouts of America has made him the man he is today.
“It’s definitely molded my ambition,” he said. “Without the Boy Scouts, I don’t think I’d ever be able to do that (boat captain). Organization, leadership, a lot of responsibility: I think the Boy Scouts has definitely shaped me to be ready for it.”
In 10 year’s time, Meek sees himself with a fulfilling career in the maritime industry, and hopefully, a little part of the American Dream here in Southeast Texas.
“If God blesses me with kids, I can take my kids there some day,” Meek said of J.D. Murphree Wildlife Management Area. “I didn’t do a huge part to protect it, but hey, at least I did a little bit. Give the kids a chance to see it in 40 or 50 years.”