Owl Boxes

Executive Summary:

Our goal is to incorporate several owl nesting boxes on conifer trees located near Denny Field, William H. Gates Law Library, and the Union Bay Natural Area. Through a physical survey of campus, we found specific trees in these areas that meet the necessary criteria for barn owl habitat. The boxes will be anchored to the trees using rings that will wrap around the circumference of the trunk, and can be loosened periodically to accommodate the growth of the tree. It is our hope that within two years, one or more barn owls will encounter these boxes and take up residence on campus. We chose barn owls because they are commonly found in the Pacific Northwest, provide natural pest control, can easily live in human-modified environments, and they are a dynamic “charismatic mega-fauna” that will add complexity to biodiversity at UW. According to our panel of experts Kristine Kenny of the UW Landscape and Architecture, Heather Swift of Cohabitats, and Charles Easterberg of the UW Sanitarian, we would have a better chance of attracting an owl if we put up more than just four boxes. To get a headstart and increase our chances, we would like to put up ten boxes.

Student Involvement:

The majority of our project involves students. We are hoping to team up with people from the UW architecture and ask them to help build our boxes. If this doesn’t seem possible, our next plan is to buy the boxes. Our project targets all students, but we would like to focus on students from PoE (Program on the Environment).

Education & Outreach:

We hope to publicize our project by going to ENVIR 100 or 480 classes to get the word out to Program on the Environment majors. We would also like to talk to people from The Daily and ask if we could get mentioned in an article as well.

Environmental Impact:
  • Living Systems and Biodiversity
Project Longevity:

Environmental Problem:

Our campus is lush with green spaces full of native vegetation and wildlife. This is not a problem, but rather a condition that we should continuously strive to improve, not only for its intrinsic value, but also for the numerous scholarly and personal benefits provided to the UW community. Because there is a vast amount of suitable habitat and food sources for wildlife on our 643 acres, unwanted species such as rats are often attracted to live and breed here. According to campus sanitarian Charles Easterberg, the UW spends thousands of dollars each year on pest control. Often times this money is spent on pesticides that contain chemicals that can be dangerous for non-target species. Our project would not only increase overall biodiversity on campus by attracting aesthetically pleasing owls, but would provide free rat control. This project has the potential to save the University money in the long run, and could ideally be sustained in perpetuity.

Explain how the impacts will be measured:

Total amount requested from the CSF: $1,000
This funding request is a: Grant
If this is a loan, what is the estimated payback period?:


ItemCost per ItemQuantityTotal Cost
Equipment & Construction
Owl Boxes$2005$1000
CSF Grand Total$1000.00

Non-CSF Sources:

Project Completion Total: $1,000


TaskTimeframeEstimated Completion Date
Project Start Date3/28/2011
Register to become a RSO 2 weeks4/20/2011
Lookup boxes on the web for best deals1 week4/27/2011
Purchase boxes and wait for delivery 2 weeks5/04/2011
Put up boxes on campus 1 week5/11/2011
Write project report2 weeks 5/25/2011
Project Completed 5/25/2011

Project Approval Forms: