Caldwell puts love of nature to use for service project

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 22, 2000

Charles Caldwell knew well in advance where he would be spending Thanksgiving morning — in the woods.

Whether it be hunting, fishing, camping or hiking, 17-year-old Caldwell is quick to admit he loves the outdoors.

&uot;To me, there’s nothing better than watching things go on in nature,&uot; he said, adding that the outdoors is his retreat, a place to think more clearly.

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Caldwell recently made his own contribution to nature by landscaping the entrance to Copiah-Lincoln Community College Natchez campus.

The beautification project put Caldwell one step closer to his goal of becoming an Eagle Scouts — the culmination of more than five years in the Boy Scouts. But Caldwell had other motivations as well.

&uot;I decided to take on the project because I like being outside,&uot; he said.

After contacting school officials, Caldwell enlisted the help of a cousin with a design major who developed the landscaping plans.

Fellow students at Trinity Episcopal School volunteered their Saturday to help Caldwell with the back-breaking job of unloading and placing the plants.

Caldwell said the project meant more than just making the campus more attractive, it projects as image of the school to prospective students.

&uot;(Before) when students came to the campus, it looked bleak,&uot; he said.

For now, Caldwell plans to pursue a career in dentistry, but admits that if he followed his heart, it would lead him to the outdoors.

It is that love for nature that also motivates Caldwell to stay involved with Boy Scouts, even when other activities like varsity football and Young Republicans club keep him busy.

&uot;It’s is a chance to (be outdoors) a lot more often and get something out of it,&uot; he said of Boy Scouts.

With only two merit badges to go before earning the title of Eagle Scout, Caldwell said his focus now is on younger scouts who look up to him for guidance.

&uot;I’m trying to set an example for the ones coming up trying to get them to stick with it,&uot; he said.

Caldwell is the son of Chuck and Julie Caldwell of Natchez.