Kids Nature Project: Build a Milk Carton Bird Feeder

Kids love making stuff – that’s pretty much a given – and they tend to be drawn toward nature, so why not put that passion to work on a project that’s truly for the birds: a milk carton bird feeder?

Having a homemade bird feeder mounted near a good viewing window will supply hours and hours of enjoyment (as well as a good teaching opportunity) for kids and adults alike, and it helps out the local wildlife as well. Projects that get kids interested in nature are some of the best types of edu-tainment, in my opinion, as it brings science to life for them, and encourages participation in nature, not just rote learning.

Right now, the National Audubon Society and Stonyfield Farm are encouraging kids to take empty milk cartons and turn them into bird feeders, and then share them with the world on the Audubon Society website.

Why bird feeders?

Putting up feeders makes sure they have enough food, especially in winter, and attracts birds to a place where you can enjoy watching them. Also, for all your bird supply needs visit the wild birds store for great prices. Our local backyard habitat can be made more friendly to birds by providing food, water, or shelter for them.

Why milk cartons?

The reasons that milk cartons were chosen for this nature project are two: milk cartons are waterproof (great for standing up to the weather as a bird feeder), and they are already manufactured and used. so by recycling them into something else, kids learn about re-use and recycling.

And what if we’re vegan?

I’m so glad you asked that, because we don’t drink milk either. I propose that we enter creations made out of an aseptic container from our favorite non-dairy beverage, and call it a Non-Dairy Beverage Carton Bird Feeder. I think that might work, although the instructions clearly say to use a “used paper milk carton, any size”. So perhaps vegan beverage containers aren’t welcome? Hmm. I can’t imagine that it matters too much to a bird.

According to the guidelines, all of the eligible entries they receive will be displayed on Audubon’s Homemade Milk Carton Bird Feeder Gallery, and five outstanding entries will be selected to be featured on the Stonyfield Farm website and the website of the National Audubon Society.

Entries must be received by September 30, 2010, so hurry up and start this nature project soon!

Bird image: foxypar4 at Flickr

Derek Markham

Things I dig include: simple living, natural fatherhood, attachment parenting, natural building, unassisted childbirth (homebirth), bicycles, permaculture, organic and biodynamic gardening, vegan peanut butter cookies with chocolate chips, bouldering, and the blues. Find me elsewhere at @NaturalPapa, @DerekMarkham, Google+, or RebelMouse.

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