Students Construct Habitats to Save Diminishing Species

In the past year the pier park area in Panama City Beach has rapidly expanded and construction has driven out some of the native species. Arnold high school's Agriscience students are trying to repair some of the damage that's been done.
Friday morning they traveled to Frank Brown Park to begin installing wood-duck houses they constructed in their class. The students are putting 12 of the houses up around the lakes and ponds. They're working together with the bay county Audubon society and the city's parks and recreation department.
The students hope their project will be a success, but know it might take time before large numbers of wood-ducks return to the area.
"The wood ducks are a slowly diminishing species of native ducks to America. They're not really found in many other places, only in the southern parts of the U.S," said Ryan Carmichael, Arnold High F.F.A. Student.
"All these trees are getting cut down and the trees that are still here are not big enough for the wood duck to make a hollow nest in it," said Karlee Hooper, Arnold High F.F.A. Student.

"It could take as long as two years before the boxes are ultimately used by the wood ducks. There's a good chance that in the interim screech owls could move in and use them as well for housing which is also a benefit to the area as well," said Al Claire, Bay Co. Audubon society volunteer.

Audubon society volunteers say the construction has been beneficial to some of the species that like higher roosts, but for other birds like the wood-ducks, these artificial homes are necessary.

If you're interested in birding you might want to take part in a special event this weekend at Frank Brown Park the great backyard bird count runs Friday through Monday. Log onto the Bay County Audubon Society website for more information.


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