As part of their Eagle Scout projects, three local scouts combined forces to spruce up the Durham Cemetery and update resources available for the site.
Andrew Bengston, Duncan Bates and Wyatt Pedersen say they were happy to contribute their time to improving the cemetery on Town House Road.
“I wanted to do my project for the Durham Cemetery, because if you looked at this cemetery before all this was done, all you saw was a few gravestones, some of which were crumbling.” said Bengston, who built a new kiosk in front of the cemetery. “So we decided to make it nicer for the town.”
“They did an amazing job,” said Craig Czaja, Durham town sexton. “They’re trying to bring light to the history of Durham and make sure the founders are remembered.”
In order to become an Eagle Scout, scouts must earn the required merit badges, prove their leadership capability and complete an Eagle Scout Service Project. According to the National Eagle Scout Association, this project is “the toughest requirement in Scouting.”
Bates originally started his project in 2016 and finished it in the beginning of April.
“My mentor recommended that the cemetery was something that the town needed help with,” Bates said. He explained that his project included creating a website and a QR code (a type of barcode), that attached to Bengston’s kiosk, that people can scan in order to access information on some of those who are buried in the cemetery. “I wanted to help save the information on the gravestones for when they’re crumbling. And the website helped me do that.”
“We’re hoping that people just appreciate the cemetery more because I know I drive by here a lot and I don’t even realize (it’s there),” said Pedersen, who cleared away brush that had covered the front of the cemetery. He also constructed a new fence. “Hopefully with the new fence and everything people will start to visit it more,” he said.