Please excuse my poor English, and keep reading this true story, which may look like a Christmas tale for Maslownians
Once upon a time…
When I joined Kickstarter’s waiting list for Maslow two years ago, I had the strong intuition that it would be a good tool to cut and build hives for the beekeeping voluntary association I was a member of. But the association advised against buying – too risky, they said! So I thought about it carefully, then I bought Maslow for myself and later I started my own non-profit association, named « Tous aux abris! » (French word game which means « Everybody inside! » and/or « Let’s all make shelters! »). My first cut with Maslow was our sign, in front of the workshop.
Our goal is to help citizens to share their inner space with biodiversity, building together houses for « liminary » animals. Liminary animals are wild, they come closer to the man to find their food, but do not want to create a bond with him. So: don’t touch them, don’t feed them, just share your space. My first focus is on houses for hedgehogs, for bees, of course, and for bats, because all of them are in collapse risk. However, in France, all cities have stopped using pesticides in public places, so insects come back, and with them can come back up the chain.
So, after a year in its box, my Maslow was installed last August in the workshop of the association. Two months went into tests and small achievements, when we got time to. Some people were interested in our project, and Maslow is the star of every visit Here is Maslow in front of Bordeaux mayor, who was France prime minister.
At the very end of october, Merignac, a city near Bordeaux, about fifty square kilometers, contacted us for 250 bat houses to be built for december 8th. It was impossible to decline that first opportunity! We needed to give an estimation and we had to win this market to make ourselves visible.
Research and development
So I spent hours comparing existing bat houses, measuring and calculating prices. We selected at least a very simple model, which boasts an above-average occupancy rate, and we wanted to offer it as a design kit ready to mount. Our wish is to involve the inhabitants in the manufacturing, in family, while optimizing their user experience. Pre-drilled, interchangeable parts minimize the risk of error, in the manner of a famous Swedish furniture manufacturer…
I made a prototype on Maslow, then submitted it to Merignac mayor council for approval. Thanks to this prototype, so thanks to Maslow, our project was chosen
To be able to meet the deadlines, we used a local subcontractor, a company adapted for workers with disabilities, in short circuit, equipped with a very very bigger CNC. Thanks to them for their quick and neat work.
The raw wood comes from the region (maritime pine) and we have been certified free of formaldehyde or methyl bromide, because the treated wood may make the males sterile, which is the opposite of the goal! All project stakeholders are concentrated within a radius of 100 km maximum.
First public presentation
Each nest box, numbered, with Mérignac city logo and bat drawing, is geolocated. Currently, 100 nesting boxes have been distributed on December 08, 50 more will be on 19/12. We were very surprised by the commitment of the 100 Mérignac inhabitants who signed up, patiently, in an uninterrupted line, listened well to our advice of assembly and installation, then left each with his nest box, and all this in just 2H 30!
(O tempora, o mores … That same saturday, when 40 people waited patiently in the cold in front of the gates the opening of the doors of the media library to pick up their nest box, and thus act in favor of biodiversity, a few kilometers away, on the sidelines of a demonstration of "Yellow Jackets“, some hooligans smashed the window of an Apple Store to grab the iPhone and iPad, symbols of a more selfish happiness …)
To accompany the delivery of nest boxes, we installed an exhibition of 5 panels on bats, lent to us by SFEPM (French Society for the Study and Protection of Mammals), as well as documentation. And we contacted the GCA (Groupe Chiroptères Aquitaine) who helped us by holding a booth to inform the public about the lives of bats. The GCA could be the scientific interface of the project because it is an association with many bats specialists, able to establish participatory inventory protocols.
We had also cut out 2 giant 3D puzzles of bats, with pieces to put together by children, and also realized a quiz about bats (true or false?), to which answered those who wished it. William, active member of Tous aux abris!, had meanwhile manufactured a template to facilitate the mounting kits on site, and made available to people wishing to leave with an operational nest box.
It was a beautiful day, which confirms the natural commitment of a large number of people to biodiversity, when they are offered the opportunity, as demonstrated by the City of Mérignac.
After the last 50 for 2018, on next wednesday, 100 bathouses will remain to be delivered, running in 2019, as well as the following of our support on this operation: networking, installation follow-up, various animations (ideas do not miss!).
Yesterday, the local newspapers published an article about the event.
Thanks to everyone who made this action possible! So thank you too, Bar and Hannah, for bringing Maslow’s concept to life, and thank you to the community for feeding it, and for responding with enthusiasm to the questions of beginners like me!
I wish you a Happy Christmas,