Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Community Nest Watch Project

Female Eastern Bluebird © HvHughes

The idea for the Community Nest Watch Project was sparked when when I met with Nathan Wozniak last September.  I was looking for ways to connect students to the Audubon Center, and I needed to fix or replace our seed shed (the doors had started to rot).  Nathan was looking for community service projects for his Tech Ed students at Warren-Alvarado-Oslo High School.

Nathan came out to the Audubon Center to take a look at the shed and we talked about that and other projects.   I mentioned that we also had a housing problem.  Most of the houses at the Audubon Center are in need of repair.  After decades of heavy use, they needed to be renovated - and in many cases, replaced. 

“This is a perfect project for our 8th graders,” Wozniak said.  “We can start in November.”

Agassiz Audubon obtained funding for the building supplies from Northwest Minnesota Foundation and Audubon Minnesota.   Argyle Building Center delivered the lumber (western red cedar) and adhesives to the school.  I supplied the schematics.

Nathan called it a lesson in mass production.

I called it a citizen-science conservation project.

Sadie Scherber and Jake Steer put together the walls

The fifteen Tech Ed students had another name for it:  FUN!

Their first challenge:  how to assemble 50 houses for Eastern Bluebirds.  
Their solution:   create an assembly line - and fabricate the tools and templates for mass production.

Taylor Mortimer attaches the back and walls
Paige Peterson glues the floors
Chase Salmon attaches a roof
Brice Miller fits a nest box into a template

Angela Spindahl attaches the front panel
Max Sundby adds finishing touches with the sander

Connor Swope sands a finished nest box

The class will have the boxes finished by the end of the week.  

Front (l-r): Samantha Ortiz, Angela Spidahl, Max Sundby, Trevor Matelski, Ethan Woinarowicz
Second Row: Paige Peterson, Taylor Mortimer, Sadie Scherber, Chase Salmon, Brice Miller, Jake Steer
Third Row: Mr. Wozniak, Connor Swope
Not pictured: Rabekah Nelson, Sydney Moug, Esmi Ortiz

In April, we'll be looking for volunteers to help install the nest boxes - in downtown Warren, at the Audubon Center, along the flood control diversion east of Warren and at the Agassiz Valley flood control impoundment southeast of Warren.

Want to help?

Eastern Bluebird Fledgling © HvHughes

You don't need to know anything about birds.  I'll show you what you need to do.  And I'll be presenting programs on nesting birds at the Northwest Regional Libraries, at Senior Centers, at Scout and 4-H meetings and at schools.  Click here to look at the schedule

It's a great project for families, kids and adults.

If you’d like to help install and monitor the boxes, call Agassiz Audubon Society 218-745-5663 or send me an email:

If you’d like to sponsor a nest box, a donation of $10 or more will help us cover the cost of the project.  Please send donations to Agassiz Audubon (27391 190th Street NW,  Warren  MN  56762) or donate on line at

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