Wildlife abounds in and around the murky depths of the Neuse River, and thanks to an Eagle Scout project by a Clayton teenager, greenway users can now learn about the species that surround them.
Thomas Wright of Troop 421 in Archer Lodge designed and built four informational markers for Clayton’s greenway, each offering facts about the origins and ecosystem of the Neuse River.
Wright teamed up with Clayton Parks and Recreation Director Larry Bailey on the project, identifying an area of need along the town’s trail system and then researching its history and wildlife.
Wright and his father, Scott, spent Christmas Day putting up the markers.
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According to one marker, it would be accurate to see a bike with a sticker reading “I brake for the North American river otter,” as that is one of the species Wright identifies.
The four markers offer insights into the Neuse’s amphibians, woodland creatures, fowl and fish, as well as the area’s historic covered bridge. The signs are spaced out along the trail, and each has a QR code that connects users to the town’s website.
Wright, a student at Durham’s N.C. School of Science and Math, said he did the project to give back to his community.
Mayor Jody McLeod said he saw little difference in Wright’s work and the work of the Town Council.
“You’re a public servant,” McLeod said. “You’re equal to the Town Council in your contribution to Clayton.”
In adding something to the town’s popular greenway, the mayor said, Wright’s work would survive for years.
“You’ve done something that will last a really, really long time,” McLeod said. “I love very much what you’ve done with the town logo in your project, putting it on all of the signs. Just like Pepsi or Coke, we want people to recognize the Clayton logo.”
Drew Jackson: 919-553-7234, Ext. 104; @jdrewjackson