Aberdeen's birdhouses brought back
An oversight that removed about a dozen birdhouses along Rge. Rd. 271 near Aberdeen in Red Deer County has resulted in a long-term project that has brought birds back to the area.
“There are a lot of birds down there now,” said Penny Archibald, Red Deer County councillor for Division 3. She said it is mainly bluebirds that the birdhouses are built for.
Archibald originally reported the removal of the birdhouses to Quicksilver Resources Canada. The company had been paying for the widening of the range road for their sweet natural gas compressor and the fences the birdhouses were perched on were taken down.
Archibald said the gentlemen who’d been looking after the birdhouses for years contacted her and she in turn contacted the company. When the company representative wondered how to address the oversight, she suggested a partnership with the Industrial Arts class at Innisfail Jr/Sr High School.
“It’s a good thing,” Archibald said. The original houses were replaced a few years ago but the partnerships have continued, resulting in many more birdhouses being installed along the fenceline.
Barry Roberts is the Industrial Arts teacher that has his Grade 9 students construct the birdhouses as one of their first projects.
“It’s the right kind of challenge,” he said. “The kids enjoy it.”
This year, Roberts made them do the project using handsaws. The birdhouse plans use just one board. This year’s batch have not been installed yet.
Roberts estimated his classes have made about 150 to 200 birdhouses over the past few years. He said it’s one way for Quicksilver to try and reduce its environmental footprint in the area.
There are potential plans to increase the program by building bat houses for the area as well.
Roberts said Quicksilver provided the initial materials to start the project. Now, Quicksilver provides the buses out to the site for the students to install their creations and provides a tour of their compressor.
“It’s been a really fun thing,” said David Morris, the senior community relations representative for Quicksilver. He pointed out the tour is a good educational opportunity for the students.
The initial error was inadvertent, Morris said.
“In correcting it, we’ve done an awful lot of good things,” Morris said. He said they’ve added more birdhouses than there were originally, getting the landowners in the area onside with the project, but they’re considering the bat houses mentioned by Roberts as well.
“All credit goes to the county representative and Barry and his students,” Morris said, noting it was Archibald’s idea to begin with.
“It’s good for the environment,” Archibald said.