Larry Bennett: Mentor and Friend
It is such a joy to share with you this special contributor to the Bluebird Restoration Project. Not only does Larry educate on the construction of the Bennett Box but also on songbirds as a whole. He recently came to the Academy to show the students what “banding” was, as five of our Bluebirds were banded by his crew. He has been such a fantastic mentor!
I met Larry Bennett in the spring 2007 after my dear friend Zaida Ortiz told me to contact Beaver Creek Reserve. We had decided to build the nest boxes as part of our Boy and Girl Scout project, and we were completely in the dark. I called BCR asking for nest box kits, and I was connected with Larry. I kept calling him back as the numbers rose, and he was able to complete 100 kits for our Boy and Girl Scouts!
Our meeting felt like the book The Celestine Prophecy when you just know you were meant to meet. Something special took place when Larry Bennett came into my life. Larry is the Commander-in-Chief of Bluebird nest boxes. Larry has collected, cut, prepped, sawed, and assembled over 2,500 bluebird nest boxes and kits since the start of the Bluebird Restoration Project in April 2007.
Doing what he does best!
Larry has mentored, taught and inspired so many members of our community in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. But this is nothing compared to the many communities outside of Eau Claire. Larry Bennett along with my other good friend, Rick Koziel, traveled around Wisconsin to Holcombe, Rice Lake, Cornell, Alma, and Altoona giving “Bluebird Workshops.” He has also been invited to talk at schools and with our local 4-H club.
Larry believes in community involvement especially when it comes to nature and education. He is always a teacher. When you are with him you are always learning, even when you don’t realize it.
He is a regular guest at the Nature Academy, and is always lending a hand. He came in with his banding gear to show the students how it worked. He introduced us to “mist nets,” which are what bird banders use to catch the birds. They hang them in high-traffic areas, and the birds are unable to see the nets. They fly into them, and banders like Larry carefully pluck them out and give them a bracelet. With the numbers on the band, scientists are able to track the birds as they migrate.
Larry at the Nature Academy
He also shared with us a story about when he was able to join a friend who was banding a Golden Eagle named Jeanette. She was also outfitted with a GPS device, so that the National Eagle Center could track her in real time. We were all enthralled by his story, and we wanted to know more! The children liked to hear about the eagle’s sharp talons, but the adults were interested by the GPS device. You can see where she’s been by clicking here!
We have so many talented and kind people in our community. We would have never crossed paths if it wasn’t for the Bluebirds. Every time we have a question or a problem, Larry is able to help us out with his years of experience. He is such a blessing, and we wouldn’t be who we are today without him!
Larry working on a Bennett Box
As a special treat, Larry has shared with us his plans for our nest boxes. To download Bennett Bluebird Box Plans as a PDF, just click the link!