Naperville Eagle Scout Constructs Fish Habitats and Line Collectors for DuPage County Forest Preserves

When it was time to design his Eagle Scout project, Quinn Draz of Naperville, an avid angler and outdoor enthusiast, wanted something he could be passionate about that would also serve the community, so he turned to the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County.

District ecologist Don LaBrose worked with the Neuqua Valley junior from Naperville Troop 889, helping him plan and initiate the construction of 30 submersible fish habitats and 18 fishing-line collection stations for the preserves.

“In the short time I worked with Don LaBrose on my Eagle project, his passion for the outdoors, conservation-minded spirit and dedication to our natural resources impacted my life greatly,” Draz said.

LaBrose passed away in 2012, and after Draz completed his Eagle Scout project he decided to honor his mentor with a new endeavor. He developed Funds for Fish, a campaign to raise $5,000 to introduce a new species of hybrid bluegill to forest preserve waters to attract younger anglers. The hybrid grows quickly, but it also tends to spawn infrequently, which means it dedicates less energy to reproduction and more to growth and is less likely to become overpopulated.

“Through Funds for Fish, I’m paying it forward so kids for generations to come can have the same incredible outdoor experiences I’ve had growing up,” Draz said.

“Thanks to Quinn’s efforts, more kids will be able to experience the thrill of catching a fish and hopefully embrace this pastime,” said Joe Cantore, president of the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County. “We’re very grateful for his work to enhance fishing in our forest preserves.”

Chris Linnell, volunteer services coordinator for the District, added, “Quinn’s enthusiasm is contagious. We hope others will support the Funds for Fish and bring youngsters to the lake to drop a line.”

Now that he’s earned the rank of Eagle Scout, Draz hopes to work again with the District to earn a prestigious Hornaday Award, which recognizes Scouts for outstanding contributions to environmental and conservation programs, and has only been awarded to an estimated 1,100 Scouts in the last 80 years.

People who wish to donate to Funds for Fish can do so at dupageforestgiving.org.