On Sept. 11, members of the Rainy River District Trappers’ Council gathered at the farm of Nick Veldhuisen to construct more than 200 pine marten nest boxes.
Healthy pine marten habitat requires both abundant food and shelter. However, large cut-over areas and immature forests do not provide sufficient shelter for breeding females to raise their young.
Typically, pine marten use a large mature tree with a 200 mm cavity and a 75 mm entrance hole made by a woodpecker.
Once these 200 nest boxes are installed in appropriate forest stands, they will enhance the quality of habitat and make the forest more desirable for pine martens.
Studies have shown that pine marten also use these nesting boxes for catching and eating prey, resting, and seeking refuge during storms and periods of extreme cold weather.
The Rainy River District Trappers’ Council undertook this project in partnership with Rainy River District Stewardship, along with the help and donations of several local businesses.
Dale Kaemingh of Manitou Forest Products, for instance, donated more than 2,000 board feet of pine lumber and delivered it to the site.
Veldhuisen provided a well-equipped shop for the construction phase, Tompkins Hardware in Emo gave a generous discount on the hardware, and Rainy River District Stewardship covered the cost of the hardware.
This habitat enhancement project is an excellent example of the strength of community partnerships.
It could not have been such a success without the technical expertise provided by MNR biologist Danielle Berube and the 18 trappers who volunteered to construct and install the nest boxes.