Almanac

Schools - May 26, 2010

Priory campus recognized for bird-friendly habitats

The Woodside Priory in Portola Valley is for the birds and the people there are fine with it, as is the local Audubon Society.

The Sequoia Audubon Association plans to recognize the Benedictine school for grades 6-12 for its new bird houses, brush piles and neutered feral cats, a school spokesman said. A ceremony is set for 10 a.m. Tuesday, May 25.

The changes have brought about "an observable increase in the local and migratory bird population" on the 50-acre campus, said spokesman Sean Mclain Brown. Asked to justify that conclusion, Mr. Brown said faculty and staff did a before-and-after visual count.

Audubon took notice after Hovey Clark, a science teacher, explained the changes being made by parents, faculty, staff and students in the Sustainability Club, Mr. Brown said.

Audubon suggested the recognition "because they hadn't heard of any other school doing what we were doing to promote healthy habitats," Mr. Brown said.

Being good stewards of the Earth helps students grow into environmentally responsible adults, Mr. Brown said, quoting Brother Edward, the director of guidance and counseling.

It's consistent with the school's mission "to assist students of promise in becoming lifelong learners who will productively serve a world in need of their gifts," Mr. Brown added.

"It's a win-win situation for us and the birds," said Mr. Clark in the statement. "We get the benefit of viewing remarkable birds like peregrine falcons and red tailed hawks doing what they do best, and the birds get an environment that helps them thrive."

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