Pupils propose perches

Students are hoping to bring eagle perches to Port McNeill

At the Town of Port McNeill council meeting on June 15, the room had more of the feel of a school play than a discussion on municipal affairs as excited parents and children filled the room.

Grade 5 and 6 students from Mrs. Lok’s and Mrs. Jack’s classes at Sunset Elementary School lined the perimeter of the Council meeting table and presented a proposal for eagle perch trees. Accompanied by a slideshow, students each took a few moments to share with Council why they felt there was a need for eagle perch trees in Port McNeill.

The students explained that two years ago they noticed trees were being cut down by the waterside, and eagles landing on power lines instead of trees were getting electrocuted and dying.

The students said that eagle perch trees would not only protect the eagles and retain them in the area, but could also bring an influx of tourists hoping to see the creatures, ideally supporting the local economy.

“It’s a wonderful idea with lots of potential,” said Councillor Jay Dixon.

Students presented a slideshow with relevant information and also showcased several potential models they built of what the eagle perches could look like, including one with horizontal branches that eagles tend to like. The eagle perches would ideally be five to 10 metres from open water.

The students also said that they are thinking ahead to the need for sponsorship, and also acknowledged that this could be a big project with a potential need for collaboration with naturalists and biologists. Ideas for fund-raising include bake sales, bottle drives, car washes, and lemonade stands.

Mayor Shirley Ackland told the students that Council would discuss the idea and would get back to them on what support they could provide.

“It’s a tremendous amount of work you have done,” Ackland said.