09:34AM, Tuesday 17 September 2013
Turning his back garden into a wildfowl park has helped 17-year-old Oliver Wood win a gold Duke of Edinburgh award.
The Windsor Boys School pupil has hatched chickens, quail and duck eggs in his garden in Burfield Road, Old Windsor - building up an impressive flock that includes three Indian Runner ducks.
He sells the eggs to cover the costs of their food and has taken a course in attending to their medical needs.
Ollie said: "I love researching the breeds of birds and exploring the genetics involved in breeding different strains."
He hopes to study zoology at university.
Although his work with birds won him the skills section of the Duke of Edinburgh award, Ollie - who is an explorer scout with the Runnymede unit - also helped out as a volunteer leader at Old Windsor beaver scout colony, bringing his ducklings along to the delight of the young members.
For the last section of the award Ollie took part in a gruelling four day hiking expedition in the North Yorkshire Dales. His assessor Steve Wilkins said: "Ollie took charge of recording the flora and fauna, using his incredible skills with photography and technology to record the team's journey."
Ollie's mum Emma is an administrator at St Peter's Middle School in Old Windsor. She said: "Doing his bronze, silver and gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Award programmes has had a great influence on Ollie.
"He is more confident than ever, likes to try new things and has shown great leadership skills."
More than 30,000 young people try for the Gold Award in the UK each year with only about 7,500 making it through to the end.
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