Last month, Mark Fleishman, an Eagle Scout and Wrightsville Beach resident, completed his Eagle Scout project, refurbishing Lee’s Nature Park located off Causeway Drive. A resident of the beach for the past six years, Fleishman said he knew Lee’s Nature Park was a fitting location for his project.
“My mom and I would walk the Loop and I would always notice it, but never really took much interest in it,” Fleishman said. “So I was looking for a place to do my Eagle Scout project and that caught my attention, and I really liked the possibilities and opportunity to fix it up.”
Prior to undertaking his project, Fleishman said his initial survey of the area was dismal.
“It was originally created as a bird sanctuary and if you went out there before my project, it was desecrated with vandalism and a lot of kids just went back there to drink alcohol and littered,” he said.
One of Fleishman’s project goals was to raise awareness about E. Lawrence Lee, a philanthropist who donated the land to the town of Wrightsville Beach in 1981 and to restore the park as a bird sanctuary. At the entrance of the park now stands a sign recognizing Lee for his donation and listing some of the fauna that frequents the area like brown pelicans, many species of butterflies, and snowy and great egrets. Fleishman also erected two new birdhouses near the northernmost side of the park.
In addition to those improvements, Fleishman also established four plant beds — two near the marsh edges, one in the center and one near the front entrance. The most difficult part of the whole project came from the rocks, brick and debris Fleishman said he uncovered in the soil when digging the beds. Holly and oleander bushes occupy the majority of the beds, and Fleishman also planted one crape myrtle tree. When deciding what species of plants to use, Fleishman said he researched that plants would be best in areas around saltwater and would be drought tolerant.
After completing his project, Fleishman said he has noticed more and more people venturing into Lee’s Nature Park to take advantage of the park’s serenity and bird population.