BRADFORD, Texas, June 20, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Troops from several East Texas chapters of the Boy Scouts of America and the Cub Scouts spent a happy Father's Day with family members and others to learn about native wildlife and plant species at the 1,000-acre Bradley Oaks Ranch located north of Palestine.
Bradley Oaks Ranch supports and hosts numerous programs benefiting Anderson County residents and the surrounding community. Its wildlife educational center provides students valuable and unique opportunities to observe indigenous animals and plants found only in East Texas.
Angela Menchaca, Committee Secretary for Troop 343 in Athens, led the Father's Day tour with Troop 343 Scout Master Paul Julian. The group traveled by hayride through a massive old-growth forest of native cedar and pine to observe and photograph one of two American bald eagle nests discovered at Bradley Oaks Ranch. The nests, which have been registered with the Texas Natural Diversity Database maintained by the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department, are located atop trees that reach more than 40 feet in height. The high canopy and nearby lakes and streams are preferred by eagles when choosing nesting sites.
"This gave us an up-close and personal perspective on how big the eagle's nests actually are and how much we need to appreciate nature and try to preserve our world as much as we can," says Ms. Menchaca.
Bradley Oaks Ranch also works in conjunction with Troop 343 and the Texas Department of Transportation as part of an Adopt-a-Highway cleanup effort that covers a four-mile stretch of State Highway 19 near Bradford. Troop 343 has been in operation for 85 years through an affiliation with the First United Methodist Church in Athens.
For the past 10 years, Bradley Oaks Ranch has preserved and nurtured the property as a weekday educational center for children and a work retreat for businesses. Currently, the ranch is exploring the possibility of adding an aviary for the rehabilitation and release of bald eagles in conjunction with the Caddo Nation. The federally recognized Native American tribe originated in East Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas and Oklahoma.
Polly Edwards, a biologist and the Environmental Director and Emergency Manager for the Caddo Nation, says Bradley Oaks Ranch is a valuable community resource that has become a perfect home for rare American bald eagles. She says the visible eagle's nest in the old-growth cedar forest may weigh as much as a ton, noting that mating eagles can produce up to three eggs per year.
"So much of what's done these days in the name of progress ends up destroying native habitats," says Ms. Edwards. "But what they're doing at Bradley Oaks Ranch is establishing a beautiful reserve that people will be jumping at the chance to see. For the eagles, this place is nirvana. Although they are largely migratory, if eagles find a place they like, then they sometimes decide to live there year-round."
The owners of Bradley Oaks Ranch have worked to preserve the native wildlife and habitats of East Texas for more than a decade. Bradley Oaks Ranch is committed to providing educational programs and other community outreach efforts to highlight the importance of conserving and maintaining native wildlife and the environment.
SOURCE Bradley Oaks Ranch