There’s an unseen epidemic happening to cavity-nesting animals across the United States. Each year thousands of animals become entrapped in ventilation pipes and chimneys. Vault toilets, that can be found in many of America’s wilderness areas, feature 12″ vertical ventilation pipes that mimic the natural cavities preferred by bird species. Once a bird enters a vault toilet’s ventilation pipe they are trapped inside and will either die from starvation or disease.
The Raptor Center, a nonprofit raptor education, research, and rehabilitation organization in Jackson Hole, Wyoming set out to address the issue. They worked with Leo Castagno, owner of Premier Powder Coating and Custom Fabrication, to develop vent screens that would prevent wildlife entrapment on a national scale. T
George McClellan, who was part of the Poo Poo project, contacted Leo, owner of Premier Powder Coating and Custom Fabrication, for help to design and create these ventilation screens. However, this was no easy task. Each screen had to be low in cost, durable, wildlife friendly, and easy enough for a boy scout to install. Leo was happy to help, so he accepted the challenge and began working with George on designs for the ventilation screens. After many revisions, they developed a design that could be made from scrap metal. This allowed the cost to be significantly reduced. As a result of the simplistic and low cost ventilation screen design, Teton Raptor Center was nominated for an award. And as a thank you, both Leo and George received contributor’s awards. Looking back, Leo was happy to help contribute to the cause.