A chance to put their skills to good use and help give local wildlife places to call home has been a good match for some Cedartown High School students.

Georgia Power’s Cody Folsom and Zach Morgan, both auxiliary equipment operators at Plant Bowen in Euharlee, have partnered with students from the school’s metal shop class to make nesting boxes for wood ducks.

Wood ducks are the most common ducks to Georgia, with many not migrating. Although populations are relatively stable, they are losing natural nesting locations throughout the southeast.

Folsom and Morgan both describe themselves as avid outdoorsmen and that they look to not only enjoy what nature has to offer, but to see what they can do to give back to it. The duo decided to research what they could do to help preserve nesting locations and soon decided to create nesting boxes.

Wood ducks are cavity nesting ducks. They build nests in abandoned woodpecker holes or natural tree cavities caused by disease, fire or lightning. But they will also use a constructed nesting box.

Students from Cedartown High’s metal shop class assisted by creating predator guards that attach to poles to support the boxes. Materials were provided by Plant Bowen, as well as a donation to the high school.

According to Ducks Unlimited, several important factors must be considered when selecting sites to place wood duck boxes.

Suitable brood habitat must be available within a couple of hundred yards in order for ducklings to survive once they exit the box. In addition, shallow, fertile wetlands with thick cover and an abundance of invertebrates typically provide the best habitat for broods. Ideally, boxes should be erected on either wooden posts or metal conduits outfitted with predator guards.

Over the last month, Folsom and Morgan have been able to install approximately 20 duck boxes on the property at Plant Bowen. They hope this is only the beginning of duck conservation projects at generation plants across Georgia.

For more on wood ducks and to find out how to build a nesting box, visit www.ducks.org/conservation.

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