The Eagle, the Owl and the Mice

Simi valley, calif., eagle scout candidate John Casselberry Jr. wanted a unique Eagle Scout project. Not content to build a footbridge or clean up a cemetery, Casselberry instead turned his sights to Waste Management's Simi Valley Landfill and Recycling Center, which was overrun with mice and rats. After meeting with the facility's manager, the 14-year-old learned that the company was interested in using owls as an environmentally friendly way to patrol the site, having had previous success using trained falcons to scare off encroaching seagulls.

Casselberry and his father, John Sr., went to work, constructing eight owl boxes from plywood and two-by-fours. They hoped to attract native barn and great-horned owls, which commandeer other animals' nests instead of building their own. The owl condos were stationed atop 14-foot poles around the perimeter of the landfill. Within five minutes, the first owls began to circle and have been regulars ever since.

Aesop would have been proud.