GODFREY - A dedication event from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday celebrated the opening of a new observation viewing blind at the Two Rivers National Wildlife Refuge with window openings to view colorful ducks to majestic eagles. The self-described "yard shed" with window openings and the blacked-out interior was the Eagle Scout project of Hayden Markert.

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This new amenity is Eagle Scout candidate Hayden Markert’s contribution to bettering the Riverbend community.

"The project itself took over a year of planning, design, fundraising, and construction as I pursued the Eagle Scout rank," Markert said. "A number of local businesses, family members, friends, fellow scouts, and the refuge donated services, materials, and labor that helped make my vision a reality."

Hayden, age 16, is a member of Troop 7 of Godfrey, part of the Greater St. Louis Area Council - Boys Scouts of America.

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The dedication event showed Hayden's appreciation to all of the volunteers and donors who made his ambitious Eagle Scout project possible. The Scouting program endeavors to teach young people to be good citizens and accomplish this with a number of merit badges, education programs, volunteer events, team-building exercises, and leadership opportunities.

Strategically located along the Mississippi Flyway, Two Rivers National Wildlife Refuge hosts vast numbers of diverse resident and migratory bird species.

Hayden and his family encouraged residents to plan a road trip and check out his new contribution to the Two Rivers National Wildlife Refuge.

The new viewing blind is a short walk from the National Wildlife Refuge headquarters parking lot.

Hayden offered special thanks to the Refuge Manager, Charlie Deutsch, for his vision and long-standing dedication to bettering the community and to Joe Pocklington of Alvie’s Towing in Jerseyville for donating his time and resources to move the viewing blind to its permanent home.

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