N3TC: -The Owl Box Project

The Owl Box Project

After reading about the success that one very forward thinking, proactive organisation (EcoSolutions www.ecosolutions.org.za) had in Johannesburg introducing owls into townships and doing educational work in schools, several independent individuals doing environmental education in the midlands approached us to introduce a similar project into the area. Working under the umbrella of the non-profit organisation Predatory Bird Projects, we approached the N3 Toll Concession Touching Lives Program with a sponsorship proposal to support the project. The proposal was accepted, and sponsorship was granted to bring the Owl Box Project to three areas – Mpophomeni, Underberg and Nottingham Road.

mpop-owl-arrival-120The phase at Mpophomeni is complete with the release of a pair of young Barn Owls into the area, a nesting box installed at one of the schools, and a group of 40 school children under the guidance of the Enviro Champs educators participating. Statistics collected from the series of worksheets handed out to the children before, during and after the project, as well as the questionnaire completed by the Enviro Champs has proved that the project was a huge success. In the excitement of learning about owls, seeing live owls, and feeling proud of their new found owl advocacy, an overwhelming number of kids have overcome their fears and reservations about owls. Thank you to Nikki Brighton, Liz Taylor and Penz Malinga for their incredible support in making the Mpophomeni project such a success.

The foundation phase for the Owl Box Project in Underberg was set last year with an invitation from Pat Canham to run a series of talks and presentations to local schools in the area. This year a re-run of talks was done, worksheets and workbooks were handed out, and the aim is to install owl boxes at as many of the schools as possible. The response has been very positive from all of the local schools, with Underberg Primary being selected as the best location to facilitate the release of owls with its ample grounds and availability of roosting sites. Unexpected snow falls and bad weather have delayed the project somewhat, but we should see it completed this year. Based on the responses of the children involved in the preliminary stages of the project, we have every reason to believe it will be another success. Thank you to Pat Canham for her time and enthusiasm in laying the foundation for the Owl Box Project in Underberg
Our final Owl Box Project for this season is due to take place in Nottingham Road, with Shea O’Connor School already expressing an interest in being involved. Visits to the schools in the area are being planned with the idea of discussing the scope of the project in the area, as well as which site would be suitable to release owls, and which schools would like to have owl boxes installed. We estimate that this phase will only commence in the new year with schools due to shut for holidays sometime at the end of November.

If you are interested in finding out more about the project, please visit the website www.raptorrescue.org.za
(see under projects) as well as the Facebook page ‘Owl Box Project’
or contact Tammy Caine on owlboxproject@gmail.com
or 076 724 6846