Scout project helps Sand Ridge Prairie


Chris Kettwich surveys where 100 pines stood two hours earlier. (Photo provided)

Staff Report

OREGON, Ill. — For his project, which will earn him the rank of Eagle Scout, Chris Kettwich of Oregon, Ill., organized a team to remove Scotch pine trees from Sand Ridge Prairie. The trees, which have grown too large to be sold as Christmas trees, were slated for eventual removal. Kettwich helped speed that process along.

Sand Ridge is owned by the Prairie Preservation Society of Ogle County (PPSOC), a nonprofit organization that preserves and restores prairies and other natural areas.

Sand Ridge was part of the Sinnissippi Tree Farm, and as such, has both high-quality prairie remnants and Christmas trees. Sale of the trees provides funding for the work needed at the site.

Scout Master Ray Gruber of Troop 52 worked with members of the PPSOC Board to arrange the project.


The team (from left) included Tom Steinwald, Winnebago; Tom Stone Jr., Oregon, Ill.; Cody Stone, Oregon, Ill.; Kirk Kettwich, Oregon, Ill.; Morgan Steinwand, Winnebago; Chris Kettwich, Oregon, Ill. (Scout); Paul Seedoff, Winnebago; and Dr. Robert Vogl, Prairie Preservation Society of Ogle County board member. (Photo provided)

On a rainy-turned-hot Saturday, a team of seven gathered at Sand Ridge to complete their project in short order. Armed with chain saws and four-wheelers, they felled the trees with amazing speed, hooked them to the vehicles, and dragged them to a temporary storage site, where they will either be burned or chipped. At the end of the day, 200 trees had been removed by a crew who “had fun.”

Kettwich, who planned the entire event down to driving routes and a meal, has successfully completed all of his requirements to achieve the rank of Eagle. He has been active in scouting for nine years, and serves on the Camp Lowden Summer Camp staff. He graduated from Oregon High School this past year, and will be attending Wyotech in Laramie, Wy., studying automotive and business administration. Of Sand Ridge, which he selected for his public service project, he said, “It’s such a beautiful place and it’s nice to help.”

From the July 25-31, 2012, issue

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