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Environmental Projects

Barn Owl Boxes

owl box8Barn owls are cavity nesting birds of prey but they do not create their own nest holes. Instead, they frequently use cavities from other birds or hollow trees, and they readily move into nest boxes. With the right nest box, it is possible to encourage barn owls to become permanent residents.

At Boundary Oak Golf Course, we wanted to encourage barn owls to nest because they are efficient hunters that prey almost exclusively on small rodents such as mice, rats and gophers. With hungry barn owls in the area, less money will be needed for rodent control and because they are nocturnal birds, barn owls would rarely bother our golfers or employees.

Despite the fact that barn owls are one of the most widespread owl species, they can be finicky about where they nest. Open areas are best, including grasslands, marshes and fields. Some sparse woodlands are acceptable, but barn owls generally avoid very dense forests that are a preferred habitat of great horned owls, one of their natural predators.

To encourage barn owls to nest in appropriate areas, we need to avoid using chemicals to kill rodent populations. Concentrated poisons in the rodents can be harmful to the owls, and barn owls will not nest if there is insufficient food.

Barn Owl nest boxes should be placed at least 15-20 feet high, and the opening should be shaded from the sun and wind. If the box is mounted on a pole, use a baffle to prevent cats, raccoons and other predators from reaching it.

In February 2011, Boundary Oak Golf Course Superintendent Eddi Wahlborg and several Eagle Scout troop members built and installed 6 Barn Owl boxes around the course. In the past year, we significantly reduced the use of poisons and as a result, have seen a significant drop in the rodent population thanks to the Barn Owls!

On December 27th, 2011, a Barn Owl was spotted at the owl box located near the # 3 Hole.

Bee Block

bee blockBee Block Installation

Dear Boundary Oak Golfers,

On December 18, 2011 several volunteers from Boy Scout Troop 302 and I installed three bee blocks on and around the golf course. Two of these blocks are located on the driving range with the third being installed to the right of the third hole. These blocks will serve as a multi-tenant home to native non-stinging bees whose numbers have been depleted with the invasion of the aggressive European honey bees. These native bees will in turn pollinate and beautify the city owned golf course and help it to receive an environmental friendly status and it's Audubon Certification.

This project was completed as part of my requirement to obtain the scout rank of Eagle. As an avid golfer and member of the Northgate High School golfing team, I frequently play golf at Boundary Oak. When the opportunity arose for me to complete a project that would benefit my home course, I quickly jumped at the opportunity and am glad to have completed this project for the benefit of Boundary Oak and its golfing community.

Pond Shoreline Naturalization

pond naturalization1afterIn May 2010 Boundary Oak started working towards naturalizing our pond shorelines.

At first, the shorelines just looked a bit "un-manicured" or "un-maintained", but now that they are complete, we have a more natural pond habitat which has resulted in improved water quality and aesthetics.

Natural shorelines are very important because they keep the water in our ponds clean and healthy. Natural shorelines also protect against erosion and provide valuable habitat for fish, birds and other wildlife.

  • The Benefits of Shoreline Naturalization:
  • Maintains a diversity of both plants and animals.
  • Maintains the food chain for a variety of wildlife species.
  • Supplies food for aquatic organisms.
  • Provides shelter for fish and freshwater invertebrates.
  • Plants of varying heights and types increase wildlife diversity.
  • Provides waterfowl and wading birds places to feed and rest.
  • Protects ecosystems and ecological communities.
  • Improves water quality as plants take up excess nutrients and produce oxygen to aerate the water.
  • Maintains the gene pool of particular plant and animal species, promoting hardiness, disease resistance and adaptability.
  • Stabilizes shorelines and reduces erosion.
  • Supports an aesthetic appreciation of natural beauty.
  • Contributes to the conservation of local wildlife species.

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