On this President’s Day, some local Boy Scouts used their day off school to help the wildlife of northern Nevada. The high-schoolers teamed up with Waste Management to construct a special wildlife viewing platform in Lockwood.

The cold, wet day didn't slow these volunteers down. Organized by 15 year old Life Scout Alex Curatolo, about 10 scouts and 5 adults slogged through the mud to get the job done.  

The first priority was re-purposing old wooden pallets by pulling out nails and separating small slats from the frame.  Alex explains; "…and basically right now what we're doing is separating the bad ones from the good ones, so that out here we can build our deck."

A wildlife viewing deck, to be exact.

It will soon be found just off the road on the way to the Lockwood landfill.  A wide open space that's home to a variety local plants and animals. "What we try to do are small projects that help promote the local flora and fauna. So, we do raptor purchase, brush piles for the small animals"  says Chris Anderson, the District Manager at Lockwood landfill.

Waste Management owns 3,700 acres here. The landfill occupies only 300 of those acres; so much of the wide-open space remains un-touched.

Once the wildlife viewing deck is complete students like Alex will be invited to visit. "I think that they'll appreciate that it's pretty cool, that there's a nice deck out here to look at wildlife. I think they'll enjoy it" says Alex.

"We're gonna uses this as a platform to get youth groups and other students out here to really learn about native flora and fauna of northern Nevada" Anderson adds. 

There's plenty of learning happening right now as scouts work to dismantle the pallets that will become the deck. For Alex the challenge is more than just physical, he is trying to earn the highest advancement - Eagle Scout. The future wildlife viewing station is his leadership project.

"It takes a lot to be a leader because you need to know what's going on all the different stages” says Alex as he reflects on all the behind-the-scenes work he’s had to do.

Waste Management plans to make the viewing platform just one stop in a nature tour they will soon be offering to local school children.