Special to the Reporter

Environmental Science classes at Glen Rose High School last week visited the Squaw Creek Reservoir area as part of its project to help restore habitat around the lake for the Bobwhite Quail and the Eastern Blue Bird.

Both birds have experienced declining populations in the area due to predators and loss of habitat.

The classes gathered information from GRHS teacher Wendy Thompson, who got the idea for the project from David Rutledge of Luminant's Environmental Services Department, Bruce Turner of the Community Environmental Advisory Panel and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

Other partners in the plan include the Glen Rose Bird Club (Susan Wilson), Dean Marquardt of TP&W, Rio Brazos Master Naturalist Robert Theimer, Texas AgriLIFE Extension Service Agent Josh Blanek, the Glen Rose Honor Society (Laura Harlin) and Oncor's Environment, Health and Safety Department (Liz Kirkpatrick).

The classes also consulted with Susan Wilson from the Glen Rose Bird Club. Then they applied for a grant, which they received to proceed on the project.

The plan calls for restoring up to 30 acres in the northern sector of Squaw Creek Park by planting native grasses and trees that will work for both of the birds. Other species also may be targeted based on field assessment. The targeted area lies in Hood County, which is a preferred county for the grant.

The plan was presented after the 30 acres were cleared of ash juniper. After researching which animal populations had declined, the classes settled on the two bird species.

The Environmental Science classes came up with ideas and discussed how to restore the habitat, what it would take and how much it would cost. The budget they came up with was $8,825, which includes building supplies, feed and feeders, nursery supplies and other items.

More than 50 students will participate in the project. GRHS' Wood Shop classes also will be involved in constructing shelters.