TA construction class gives barn swallows a hand

TA construction class gives barn swallows a hand
Posted on 03/04/2020
This is the image for the news article titled TA construction class gives barn swallows a handThree STA Construction students stand in the Barn Swallow structure they built.
A community partnership will give barn swallows a new place to call home thanks to the St. Thomas Aquinas Grade 12 Construction class. The collaboration between the high school and Ontario Power Generation, will give barn swallows near OPG’s Whitedog Falls Generating Station a place to build their nests.

“The problem is that swallows will build their nests on the walls or eaves of anything man-made. We built this so that they can build their nests on this structure instead of the power station,” said Grade 12 construction student Zachary Martens.

In Ontario, barn swallows were added to the province’s species at risk list in 2012. OPG commissioned STA to build a nesting structure to lessen the potential impact on the barn swallow population from planned work at the station.

OPG provided the materials for the students, who worked from a blue print to create the oversized birdhouse, which measures 3.83 m tall by 2.34 m wide. Student, Liam Whetter, explains what he thought of the project.

“It was a lot of fun. We got to do a lot of big building with big timbers compared to smaller more intricate jobs,” he said. “It’s also fun to work with the community because you get to see other people’s satisfaction with your work. That gives you more incentive to work harder and do better.”

Whetter said he’s interested in pursuing carpentry after graduation and has enjoyed learning from teacher Gerry Bozzo during the construction class.

Whetter and Martens plus classmate Jackson Klippenstein made up the trio that put together a swallow structure. While Klippenstein said he’s not looking to pursue carpentry after graduation, the class still taught him a lot of valuable lessons.

“It’s good because it teaches you basic skills so that if you ever need to build something at your house or help someone else you know what you’re doing and don’t need to pay someone to come in and do it for you,” he said.

Besides the construction class, St. Thomas Aquinas High School also offers a Dual-Credit Construction Program where students can earn credits both in high school and at college through a partnership with Confederation College.
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