Soon another limo arrives with all the important officials of Coconut Cove. At ten minutes to noon, Roy and Beatrice arrive. They are startled to see that they are not the only students there. Several of Roy’s history classmates have come, too, along with a bunch of parents. Then, the school van arrives and unloads Beatrice’s soccer teammates who are all carrying signs. Roy looks for signs of the owls, but they’re nowhere in sight. He knows that this is what Mother Paula’s officials are counting on.
Chuck Muckle is the first to speak to the crowd. He makes a welcoming speech and then hands out gold-painted shovels to the city officials who all shovel a bit of dirt simultaneously to Beatrice’s quiet comment that they all need to get a life. Muckle then attempts to end the ceremony by saying that he’ll see them all next spring at the grand opening. He’s interrupted by Roy who says he won’t be there if they hurt a single one of the owls. This is when Kimberly Lou Dixon steps forward to find out what Roy is talking about. Roy explains about the owls and their burrows, and how they’re an endangered species, while the soccer team raises their signs and begins to chant. Kimberly is appalled, saying she doesn’t want to hurt any owls. However, Muckle again interrupts and tells Roy he is irresponsible to make such accusations without proof. Roy holds up the camera with what he says is proof and begins to look for the pictures Mullet Fingers took the night before. Unfortunately, the boy’s insistence that he didn’t know a thing about digital cameras comes true when none of the pictures is clear enough to prove the existence of the little birds.
Once again, Roy is stymied until a voice rings out that “it ain’t over by mile!” It’s Mullet Fingers who has climbed into one of the burrow with only his head is showing. He says they’ll have to bury him along with the owls. Furthermore, he is holding a kite string between his teeth which is attached to a bucket which he says is filled with cottonmouths and that if they begin to bulldoze the property, he’ll spill them out into the crowd. When Roy looks inside, he sees that the snakes are rubber just like Delinko’s crocodile. Muckle orders Curly to get the boy out of his sight and to take the bucket of snakes with him, but Curly refuses to touch the bucket even though it means Muckle will fire him.
Then, Delinko looks in the bucket, and Roy is convinced that the protest will soon be over. But to his surprise, Delinko doesn’t tell the truth about the snakes. He instead advises Muckle to negotiate. Muckle becomes enraged and takes one of the shovels, empties the bucket, and viciously cuts up all the rubber snakes. When he realizes the snakes are fake, he heads for Mullet Fingers with the intention of attacking him. At that point, Roy and Beatrice join hands and create a barrier around the running boy. They are soon joined by all the other students, who form a circle around the burrow where Mullet Fingers lies. None of the parents stop their children, either. Stealthily, the city officials begin to melt away, not wanting to be seen with this maniac from Mother Paula’s. Even Kimberly Lou Dixon joins the circle while all the kids begin to sing, “This Land Is Your Land.”
Muckle seeks help from other policemen who then arrive, but they, too, refuse to step into the protest. Then, Lonna Leep arrives attempting to get camera coverage by pretending she is so proud of her son, but once again, the kids close ranks against her. It looks like it might turn ugly until Garrett launches one of his fake farts which forces Lonna back. The final touch comes when one of the owls no one has yet seen suddenly appears looking for its burrow. It dives down and lands on the top of Mullet Fingers’ head.
All of the events at the groundbreaking ceremony are examples of the adage that one good turn deserves another. Each of the kids who partakes in the protest are doing the right thing while the officials of the company and the city symbolize phonies who have been revealed to be more interested in what’s good for them than in what’s good for the city and its citizens.
Roy, Beatrice, and Mullet Fingers are examples of brave young people who willingly take on the “establishment” for the sake of what is right. They even put their own physical well-being on the line to protect the birds and their friends. In the process, they grow and learn about the same integrity that Roy’s parents have been trying to teach him.