By LESLIE MIELKE
POCATELLO — Two Boy Scouts and a Snake River senior will be honored tonight at the National Wild Turkey Federation local chapter's annual fundraising dinner.
In the past three years, 1,225 hybrid oak and crabapple trees have been planted on the Snake River south of Blackfoot down to Preston, said Ed Bullock, president of the Southeast Idaho National Wild Turkey Federation. Ten Boy Scouts' Eagle projects have also been completed by planting a number of these trees,
"The trees provide winter habitat enhancement for turkeys, birds, deer and whitetail deer," Bullock said. "This habitat also helps to conserve our hunting heritage in Idaho."
Bullock hopes more trees will be planted and more Eagle projects completed this summer.
"We hope the total number of trees planted reaches 2,000," he said.
"The Scouts who do these projects are just fantastic people," Bullock said. "It makes you feel good about the future of this country."
Last summer, Boy Scouts Colby Keppner and Nick Lemon spent months preparing for their Eagle Scout projects.
Colby said he spent 235 hours on his project.
"There was a lot of organizing," said 13-year-old Colby. "I called a lot of people to help."
Twenty people helped Colby plant 75 hybrid oak and crabapple trees north of the Tilden Bridge along the Snake River bottoms in Bingham County.
Colby and his helpers tended the new shoots by watering them once every two weeks. Colby also put the trees on a GPS grid.
"Dennis Pratt donated the wood chips that were put around the trees," Colby said. "The wood chips help the trees suck all the moisture around it to the roots."
Colby finished his Eagle project last August. He is working on his swimming merit badge, the last badge he needs to complete his Eagle project.
Fourteen-year-old Nick Lemon planted 90 hybrid oak and crabapple trees along the Snake River bottoms south of the American Market in Thomas.
"I spent more time organizing it than it took me to carry out the project," Nick said. "It was hard to get enough donations of bark for 90 trees."
Nick said he called every tree service in the phone book. Professional Tree Service in Pocatello donated bark for NIck's project.
"I learned how to be a leader," Nick said. "I got better talking on a phone."
Nick worked over 150 hours on his Eagle project. He completed his project in November.
"The trees are helping wildlife around here; trees help wildlife thrive," NIck said.
About his project, Nick said, "It was a good experience; it was pretty fun."
Nick is with Boy Scout Troop 262 from Blackfoot.
Snake River High School senior Aubrey Kofford will also be honored at tonight's Wild Turkey dinner. Kofford will receive a $500 scholarship.
"I found out about the scholarship because the daughter of my dad's friend received a similar scholarship two years ago," Kofford said.
To qualify, Kofford wrote an essay about why hunting is important to her and her family. She joined the federation and sent a photo of herself and a copy of her hunting license to the local chapter of the Wild Turkey Federation.
"I've been hunting since I was 12," she said. She uses a .243 rifle.
Kofford and her dad hunt pheasants, ducks, geese and deer.
Kofford plans to attend Utah State University and go into nursing.
Doors open at 5:30 at the Red Lion Inn in Pocatello for tonight's National Wild Turkey Federation annual fundraiser. Dinner will be served at 7 p.m. Cost per plate is $25 per person.
To join the federation, membership costs are $55 per person per year.
"We are always looking for help," said Bullock.