Habitat and Nest Boxes…Round Two!

HCA is thrilled that once again, teacher Sean Polap and his students have donated habitat boxes to be used in our areas! This year, it was his grade 10 construction class at Milton District High School that put the hard work into constructing the boxes and bringing them to reality.

Learn more about Mr. Polap’s 2022 donation here.

What type of habitat boxes were built?

In addition to the three types the students built last year, owl boxes were added this year. In total, the students built and donated:

  • 18 Tree swallow boxes
  • 2 Owl boxes
  • 9 Turtle nest protectors
  • 2 Bat boxes

Why were owl boxes added this year?

Eastern screech owls typically nest in tree cavities and holes, which often occur in dead trees. When standing dead trees are close to the trails and need to be removed for safety concerns, HCA will be looking to offset the nesting opportunities lost by installing owl boxes in suitable locations.

Where are they going?

The majority of the boxes will once again be going to Valens Lake, but will also be installed at Dundas Valley and Saltfleet Conservation Areas.

When are they being installed?

Dundas Valley has installed nine bird boxes in the conservation area. Of those, seven are occupied by Eastern bluebirds, Tree swallows, and House wrens. Dundas Valley is also working on getting an owl box installed soon.

Valens Lake staff recently found several turtle nests throughout the conservation area, and were able to use six of the protectors the students built. They plan to install their bird, bat, and owl boxes later this year in the fall and winter. Of the 45 bird boxes that are already installed, 40 are currently being occupied by nesting birds.

Saltfleet will also be monitoring turtles that nest near trails, and will be providing nest protection as needed.

Thank you!

HCA is once again very grateful for this amazing contribution that is helping to protecting local wildlife! Mr. Polap and some of his students have noted they’ve seen the boxes out in HCA areas, and gives them a sense of pride seeing their work being put to good use outside of the classroom!


Bat Box Update
December 20, 2023: A total of five bat boxes were installed on the barn at Valens Lake. Bats are more likely to move in when there are three or more roosts, and a nearby water source. It is also important to place them where they get at least six hours of direct sun and also where they’ll  be less vulnerable to predation.


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