Today felt like an early Christmas for me as I went down to collect a present from the construction site at the Great Eastern/Roe Highway intersection. Lots of concrete work has been happening there over the last 6 months, and this means one thing - lots of plywood!
When making bridges/beams/onramps/ and all the other parts of a large highway overpass, construction workers use special timber or ‘Form Ply’ to build moulds for their desired structure before pouring in the concrete. Once the concrete has set, the wood gets removed, and unfortunately much of this goes to landfill. I’ve salvaged many a piece of this valuable timber from skip-bins and roadside collections to make nest-boxes with, as it is waterproof and lasts years.
Earlier this year I rang Macmahon, the contractor in charge of all the building at the G.E./Roe Highway site, to ask if they would be interested in donating some of their waste timber to an environmental cause. They were very happy to give me 15 sheets of Form Ply which I plan to use to construct nest boxes for wildlife. I’ve been building these for over 15 years and have had a great deal of success with native birds using them (see other entries in this News section).
Nest boxes can be an important way of restoring habitat for threatened species including Carnaby’s and Red-tailed Black-Cockatoos, who require large hollows in which to breed. Such hollows take at least 100 years, usually longer, to form naturally,
I believe that one of the most important things about nest boxes is they give people, especially those in urban areas, an opportunity to encourage local native species to make homes in their gardens, learn about them, take ownership of those animals, and ultimately develop a connection with the environment which results in conservation outcomes.
“We only care about what we love, and we only love what we know.”
My plan is to design many boxes from the Macmahon Form Ply, then organise an educational project where I can take the material to 50 local schools, build boxes with the school children, and install their box up a tree in the school. That way, hopefully children can take ownership of ‘their’ nest box, and keep track of what fauna uses it. Watch this website for forthcoming news.
Click here to see pictures of a large nest-box for Black-Cockatoos I built and installed in a Eucalypt at my parents’ property in 2008.