Friday, January 8, 2016

Oak Savannas: Structures

The last post on Oak Savannas generated a great deal of email traffic so I will keep working the topic.

The first thing my Grant Writing expert asked was:

1. How is this connected to other efforts? From a habitat perspective, Greenspace, public trail use, curriculum, community planning, etc. Grantors want to see that they are getting a good value and that a project is well connected rather a stand alone.

One way to create those connections is by adding some structures to the project.

Wildlife viewing blinds

This is a wildlife viewing blind on the Ott Biological Preserve.  It is situated in a grove of White Oak and overlooks a fen.  The floor is approximately 8 feet above the ground.  It is large enough to comfortably hold two people.  Access to the blind is via a ladder which can be secured by chaining and locking it to the legs of the blinds.  That discourages nefarious activities.  Hooligans must either bring their own ladder or sign-out the key from a responsible person.

Things that I would do differently:  I would not use glass windows; I would either use acrylic or cover the windows with poultry netting.  I would also put windows on three of the four sides.

Adding one or more structures like this would greatly increase ownership in the project among the birders and photographers in town.

Butterfly puddling stations

Male butterflies require sodium (salt) in order to mate.  That is why you sometimes see them around puddles and sewage outflows.  It is not the water that they are seeking, it is the salt.

A simple, concrete bird bath can be filled with sand and a couple of bottles of Gatorade can be pour on top of it.  The sand can be contoured to ensure there is always both exposed liquid to drink and solid sand to stand on.

The optimum location is in a sunny spot that is protected from breezes.  Ideally, it is on the outside of a bend in a trail so it is highly visible to hikers walking in either direction.

Disc Golf

Love it or hate it, it gets people outside.

Like the other structures discussed in this essay, the intent is to foster a sense of ownership in multiple communities.  Ideally, these will be communities who are passionate, vocal and willing to vote with their wallets.

Raptor nesting platforms

Anybody can put out a nesting box for House Wrens.  Raptor nesting platforms demand large venues.  And the most charismatic raptors want to be within a half mile of bodies of water.  The southeast corner of the Eaton Rapids School District property is less than a quarter mile from the Grand River.

It is also advantageous to place the nesting platform where prevailing breezes create an updraft.  It is all about thermodynamics.

Wood Duck Houses

Wood Ducks are another charismatic species that benefit from nesting structures.

Reptile sunning structures

Reptiles like turtles regulate their body temperature by sunning themselves when they are cold.  Increased body temperature is critical to digestive processes.

There are not many reptile enthusiasts, but they tend to be very grateful for any consideration that is shown to them.

Reptile sunning structures can be as simple as some wooden pallets or as complicated as elaborately stacked concrete sidewalk slabs.  One reason to consider the more elaborate route is that niches can be constructed that offer various exposures and reflective radiation.  Furthermore, gaps in the slabs can serve as winter dens.

1 comment:


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