Being an Eagle Scout is every Boy Scout's dream and it was for Matthew Bippes. When ten-and-a-half year-old Matthew balanced on a plank during his Arrow of Light bridging ceremony in December 2010, and was inducted into Boy Scouts that same day, he saw himself not too far from reaching this dream.
But becoming an Eagle Scout was not as easy as Matthew thought. While his older brother David worked on his merit badges, Matthew did too alongside him. On top of that, Matthew worked on several rank requirements that involved camping and leadership. To become an Eagle a boy goes through four ranks and earns twenty-one merit badges, with twelve of them specific to Eagle. The final test to a Scout's ability to lead is the Eagle Project. With having attained his Life rank, Matthew was prepared to tackle this most challenging point of Scouting.
On February 23, 2012, David, Matthew, and their mom, Maria Bippes, joined a number of outstanding community-minded individuals at the first meeting of a group that later became known as the Rolla Community Garden Council. There Matthew met Anne McClay, Public Works Department Project Coordinator of the City of Rolla.
In July 2012, Matthew began exploring the possibility of doing an Eagle Project for the City of Rolla with the help of Anne McClay. The project assigned to him was reforestation. Due to extenuating circumstances, Matthew was unable to proceed with this project in autumn of 2012.
Eight months later, in March 2013, Matthew began to meet with Anne McClay again to pursue the reforestation project. Anne was delighted to work with Matthew and to mentor him.
The site of the reforestation project was along Deible Creek by the Deible Creek bike trail. The goal of the project is to prevent erosion of soil by the stream, and to lower the temperature of the water and raise its amount of oxygen in order to prevent damage to the ecosystem of the stream. At his first visit of the creek, Matthew knew this was the ideal project for him. He enthusiastically walked the whole area and prepared himself to work.
Matthew ordered 170 trees, ten of each 17 varieties, from the George O. White State Forest Nursery. On April 19th, with the guidance of Mike Fleischhauer, Resource Forester of the Missouri Department of Conservation in Rolla, Matthew learned how to plant trees in the most efficient way with the use of tree bars. That same day, Matthew learned many useful facts about trees from Fleischhauer.
On April 20, 2013, Matthew completed his Eagle Project with the help of his parents, Greg and Maria Bippes; his brother, David Bippes; and the following from Troop 83: Seth Smith, Luke Dalton, Johnnie Swizdor, Sam Kimball, Kevin and Nathan Moore, Brian and Christopher Bench, William and Matthew Craighead, P. K. Tan, Vivi Ho, and Sudatta Hor. His sister, Caitlin Bippes, prepared the food for everyone.
Page 2 of 2 - Matthew is deeply grateful for Anne McClay, his Eagle Project coach, Mike Fleischhauer for his contributions to the project; for the support of Dean and Lila Kolker of River Trails District who have encouraged him throughout his Scouting journey, to Steve Hargis, City of Rolla Public Works Director, and Scott Caron, City of Rolla Parks and Recreation Director.
Matthew Bippes and his brother, David, are active members of Troop 83 in Rolla and the Order of the Arrow Sipo-Aney Chapter, and have always been homeschooled. His mom, Maria Bippes, is the Life to Eagle Advancement Coordinator of Troop 83. He and his family live in Anutt, Missouri.