Campus Candids

Calling All Bluebirds

How do the research, construction and installation of bluebird houses fit into the seventh grade history curriculum? Good question.

A new component for several sections of the class, Geography and Global Issues, is a service project which allows students to make an environmental contribution to the school while engaging in cross-curricular work.

Students decided to try to attract our state bird – the bluebird – to campus. Bluebirds, they learned, naturally congregate in fields and rural areas, but given the amount of open space on campus, they hope bluebirds will nest in the string of houses they have installed in the Abbotts’ east yard, the grassy knoll west of the outdoor pool and by Laughing Lake.

In their history classes, students researched the bluebirds and their housing preferences. Then they worked in IT, using a computer-aided drawing program to design four houses. They converted the electronic CAD files into milling files which “told” IT’s ShopBot what and how to cut the pieces of wood for each design. This resulted in 16 bird house “kits” ready for assembly. The students built the houses over the winter and installed them right after spring break. They will monitor the houses, try to reserve them for bluebirds and discourage the invasive campus sparrow!

Here are pictures of the construction, courtesy of Dan Barton and Brian Connor (IT), and of the installations, courtesy of Andrew Newman (fine arts and school photographer).