Twine project to protect Park County birds

After three years of work, the Gardiner FFA twine project is finally coming to fruition thanks to two grants.

The twine project began after an area photographer alerted the club that several birds of prey, specifically ospreys had twine in their nests, posing a potential safety hazard for the animals because the twine is often composed of plastics.

There were suggestions for a twine disposal and even the FFA club in Bozeman had special twine disposal units.

The Gardiner group got together and began brainstorming possible ways to fix the problem and were able to get Montana and national grants.

Yearlong Living to Serve program awarded $1,825 to the group while Montana FFA foundation matched that amount for the program.

Lori Hoppe, the group advisor, said they already developed a prototype last year, thanks to one of the members.

Caitlin Cunningham was in a welding program throughout school and worked on it as an independent project for the group.

“It really took me all year because I kept having to come back to it,” Cunningham said.

She is now a Montana State University student but still wants to be part of the program as much as she can when the project gets going.

Hoppe said the money will go toward creating more bins which they will set up at various green box sights throughout the county and possibly more if need be. They will also create some advertising for the pieces so farmers are aware it exists.

She said it was also important to put signage near the bins in case they get too full.

“ They are one ton feed sacks so they could get too heavy for the kids to lift up,” Hoppe said.

Each of the 30 members of Gardiner FFA have volunteered to help clear out the bins throughout the county.

Hoppe said with the grants and the new bins, the group can bring some awareness to the twine issue.