Paul Wilson and Belinda Curran, technology teachers of St Patrick’s College Silverstream approached me in August with the following brief:
“[We’d like to] find out about the nesting requirements of birds, so that we can make suitable nesting boxes. Learn about the different habits/sizes/feeding/nesting etc of the birds. What has been tried before? What has worked/what did not work? What materials are suitable? What about the cost of the materials & the time needed to make the boxes. I would like the boys to leave feeling enthusiastic about making nesting boxes, and for them to have enough information to make a useful design.”
Students had made nest boxes in the past but always for the backyard and it was felt that students never really engaged with the project because they didn’t feel what they were being asked to produce ‘mattered’.
All the students came for a tour in September and we looked at the different kinds of nest boxes we use in the sanctuary, the evolution of the various designs and the problems we are still trying to rectify. The students then went away and started the design and construction process. The kākāriki was chosen as the species to focus on.
Yesterday the students presented their completed kākāriki nest boxes. They have come up with some very imaginative designs and solutions to some of the issues we are trying to resolve. It has certainly been a very worthwhile exercise for both the sanctuary and St Pat’s. A big thank you to all the staff and students – a fantastic effort that is much appreciated.