Students create new homes for local wildlife
Published by Kelly Elliott for Frank Haslam Milan in Housing and also in Communities
L-r Cestria Customer Relationship Manager Lisa Coverdale, Year 7 Fyndoune Community College student Rachael Middleton (aged 11) and FHM Resident Liaison Officer Julie Milne
With spring now well and truly underway, students in County Durham have been working hard to provide birds in the area with new homes.
Students from Fyndoune Community College in Sacriston, part of The Durham Federation, built more than 50 bird boxes during their technology lessons, with materials and advice provided by a local construction company.
The boxes, which will be placed around the local area, have been numbered so students can keep track of the different varieties of birds living in them.
The project has been coordinated by community regeneration specialist Frank Haslam Milan (FHM) North East, which is currently carrying out improvement works to homes in the area on behalf of Cestria Community Housing.
It is hoped that by installing the boxes, birds will be less likely to nest in the roofs of local properties, as this causes problems when carrying out such work.
Julie Milne, a Resident Liaison Officer for FHM, said: “We want the work we are carrying out in Sacriston to cause as little disruption as possible – for both people and wildlife.
“Disturbing birds nesting in roofs is not only stressful for the birds but also results in a large fine from the RSPB.
“We always aim to engage with members of the communities in which we work and this project allowed us to do that whilst at the same time fulfilling our environmental responsibilities.”
In total, 36 students from two Year 7 classes helped make the bird boxes.
The materials and designs were provided by FHM, with advice and support provided by FHM site manager Richard Linton, while Cestria’s community engagement manager David Jones advised pupils about the best places to site the boxes and the different variety of birds which may nest in them.
Andrew Hall is Director of the Durham Federation, a partnership between Fyndoune Community College and Durham Community Business College, in Ushaw Moor.
He said: “The Durham Federation takes sustainability and supporting the local environment very seriously and this project has allowed students to gain practical skills while at the same time learning more about local wildlife and what we can do to help protect it.
“This is the first time we have worked with FHM and Cestria – it has proved really beneficial and is certainly something we hope to do again in the future.”
As well as bird boxes, the students have also produced a number of bat boxes which will be placed around the village.
David Jones, of Cestria, said: “Many of the pupils attending the school live in Cestria properties so building up links through projects such as this is brilliant.
“The students were very interested in finding out more about how the bird boxes would be used and the best locations in which to place them.
“They have numbered the boxes so they can monitor which birds are using the boxes they made which has given them great ownership of the project.”