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The (Chicken) House That Dave Built


What’s a retired bridge engineer from the Transportation Research Board of The National Academies in Washington, D.C., doing building chicken tractors and pigsties, bluebird boxes and bridges – and much, much more – at Hingham’s Weir River Farm? We asked the source: Dave Beal, The Trustees’ Volunteer of the Year, conservation restriction monitor, Cohasset resident, outdoor enthusiast, and serious tool guy.

How did you find The Trustees?
Online. My wife and I joined The Trustees while we lived in Washington, D.C., and when we moved here I started walking the trails.

What drew you to volunteer here?
The tools! I had given away all my tools to my children, and when Ed Pitcavage offered me use of all the farm tools, I jumped on it.
What ’s the best part about coming to Weir River Farm?
The folks. The farm and education staff, and all the other people who wander through here. They’re all enthusiastic about the farm.
What do you do for fun?
Besides this? I’ve built two kayaks, and I designed and maintain a website for a local nonprofit.
Why do you volunteer?
Ed tells me what he needs done, but he doesn’t tell me how to do it. And I have total flexibility – I come and go when I want to.
What ’s the worst part of volunteering?
This photo shoot!

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Visit Weir River Farm in Hingham to see all that Dave has created, including a...
mobile chicken coop, pig house, cattle calving shed, sheep shed, barn doors, picnic tables, wooden bridge, solar-powered water system installation, bluebird boxes, and wayfinding signs.