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Creating Better Homes for Bluebirds

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EUGENE, Ore. — Churchill High School students worked Wednesday to put up their hand-crafted birdhouses in a West Eugene preservation area.

Armed with rain jackets, boots and gloves,  Churchill students got ready for hands-on learning. The juniors and seniors attend the Rachel Carson Environmental Science Academy; an alternative to traditional high school that includes community service.

At the preservation area off Bertelson Street and Fifth Avenue, students created a designated walkway for hikers and homes for the area’s animals.

“I think it’s invaluable way to give back but also to learn about what the issues are first hand,” said teacher Helen Haberman.

One issue is animal habitats. Western Bluebirds were once common in the area and are now disappearing. Students learned the direct effect of humans and how species often co-exist.

“The blue bird habitat is actually dying. We are losing habitats because woodpeckers are leaving,” said junior Jimmy Pease.

With fewer woodpeckers there are fewer homes in trees for bluebirds. So, the students had the special task of installing bird houses for the bluebirds.

Each birdhouse was handcrafted and donated by Eugene resident Steve Mah, who paid close attention to detail, even adding a door. The door hinge is covered to protect it from rain.

Each birdhouse is marked indicating who made it, the students who put it up along with a number for tracking.

Lorna Baldwin with the Eugene Parks and Open Space guided students on where to put each house. To attract Western Bluebirds, the birdhouse must be open to a field, four to six feet off the ground and have a small hole to keep predators out.

Another bird house installed, a simple gesture that could have profound results.

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