Students, community get creative with birdhouses

Downtime and boredom are for the birds – that’s why local contractor Steve Lorrain is sending out a challenge to the community to build birdhouses as projects for Boothbay Region Elementary, Southport Central and Edgecomb Eddy schools’ students. Lorrain said he’s still working out the details, but the idea is to send the projects home with students to finish and install at home.

Lorrain has contacted about 25 people or businesses in construction, but he said it is also important to get the word out for anyone in the community to join in. “Any contractors, friends of the community, anyone who wants to build a birdhouse we'd love to have them do it.”

The birdhouses Lorrain built to test the concept ended up using about 3.5 board feet (1" x 6"), but a surprising amount of time went into planning the design to look good and not use too much material. Lorrain is also thinking about how take the project further, like making build-your-own kits for older students, smaller houses for the youngest students, or repurposing household items to make a birdhouse.

Imagination will make the project a success for both the students and the builders, said Lorrain. “The funkier, the better. Old barn boards or anything like that would be really cool … If they want to use glitter – whatever. Berries? Go for it.”

Beyond the birdhouses, Lorrain said other needs will include materials like paint, sandpaper, brushes and clear cups and lids for paint. “We won't need too much and we'll make available what we have … but I’ll be reaching out to folks in the meantime.”

Lorrain said he spoke with Superintendent Keith Laser who told him the idea was great and that he would have principals speak with the art teachers to consider using the project as credit for class.

"Not really that you'll want a memento, but this will mark the occasion of a once in a lifetime, ‘We can all get through this’ type of thing. We're living through a pretty crazy time and letting the kids see that something good can happen right now is a pretty good lesson, too.”

Lorrain said now that the word is out, he would expect to see birdhouses trickling in around April 20 and in the week ahead, he will be trying to get the rest of the details fleshed out. But for now, the main need is for birdhouses. “If you feel like doing two, do two. If you feel like doing a hundred, do a hundred. If we get too many, we'll just double them up and send them on home,” said Lorrain.

Lorrain laid a final piece of bait for fellow Boothbay region contractors: “You can make a million dollar house – how about a birdhouse?”

For more details, call Lorrain at 380-2580.

Thank you to the Boothbay Register for the article.