HomeCommunity NewsGold Award Project Takes Wing at Huntington

Gold Award Project Takes Wing at Huntington

Photo by Mitch Lehman / TRIBUNE
Olivia Lee displays her owl boxes and a check from the Rotary Club of San Marino, which provided financial assistance for her Girl Scout Gold Award project.

The Huntington Library is home to some of the most instantly familiar attractions on the planet, but you will be hard-pressed to even locate Olivia Lee’s contribution to the property. In fact, it’s doubtful one can even legally enter the grounds where the San Marino Girl Scout’s handiwork can be found.
Regardless, the addition is welcomed by officials at the famed institution. Lee is about to install 30 owl boxes on the hallowed grounds of the Huntington, though there will be no exhibit tags to explain their significance.
“The goal of my project is to decrease the amount of rodents at the Huntington Library without having to use toxic chemicals,” explained Lee, who chose the unique project to submit for her Gold Award. “Building these boxes will attract barn owls, which will hopefully create an equal balance of predators and prey.”
Unless rodents are kept in check by natural methods, the Huntington must use dangerous pesticides, which make their way into the food chain and kill or injure desirable animals.
A San Marino resident and senior at Flintridge Prep, Lee consulted with Jim Folsom, the Telleen/Jorgensen director of the Huntington’s botanical gardens, who provided the idea, and Andrew Mitchell, the institution’s curator of material objects, who supplied the logistics. Lee built 30 owl boxes from scratch, each about 2 by 2 by 4 feet and taking approximately 2½ hours to make.

Photo by Mitch Lehman / TRIBUNE
Olivia Lee is pictured with mentors and supporters who helped with her Gold Award project: Andrew Mitchell (left) and Jim Folsom of the Huntington Library, Rotary Club of San Marino Foundation chair John Jones and club President Aaron Gil.

“My boxes are made of plywood, which are naturally water resistant, so they will not be damaged in harsh weather conditions,” she added.

Photo by Mitch Lehman / TRIBUNE
San Marino resident Olivia Lee, a senior at Flintridge Prep, completed her Girl Scout Gold Award project at the Huntington Library.

Lee has been a member of Girl Scout Troop 3671 since kindergarten. She attended Carver Elementary School and Huntington Middle School before heading to Flintridge Prep. The daughter of Jenny Lin and Mike Lee, Olivia hopes to attend college on the East Coast and major in psychology. Olivia is the granddaughter of Joy and former San Marino Mayor Dr. Matthew Lin.
Faced with the prospect of completing a project to attain Girl Scouting’s highest honor, Lee always knew she would eventually be knocking on the Huntington’s door.

“I knew I wanted to dedicate my project to the Huntington Library, because it is such a beautiful place and I wanted to help in any way I could,” Lee said. “I have been going there ever since I was 5 and it has been a place where my family and I love to spend time together.”

Lee applied for and received a grant for $1,000 from San Marino Rotary Charities and raised more than $1,000 on her own to fund the project.
“I sincerely thank the Rotary Club for their kind donation, as I would not have been able to complete my project without their help,” Lee said. “I would also like thank Jim Folsom and Andrew Mitchell from the Huntington Library for supporting my project in every way they could.”

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