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TIOF tests out new interactive model at BaileyFest

By Staff | Nov 14, 2019

PHOTO PROVIDED From left, Jim Columbo, Susan Tucker and Merry Merryfiel, nest monitor team leader, with the model at BaileyFest on Oct. 28.

The International Osprey Foundation has a new teaching tool – an interactive scale model of an osprey platform.

“I could see that the children really connected with it and enjoyed putting sticks in it at BaileyFest,” TIOF President Susan Tucker said.

Jim Columbo, who makes platforms for the Sanibel-based foundation to replace rotted or damaged ones, came up with the idea.

“I first got the idea of a scale model of an osprey platform when we were volunteering at the TIOF booth at ‘Ding’ Darling Days in October,” he said. “I noticed right away that a lot of the other organization’s booths at the event had interactive displays for people walking by, especially for children. I looked at the TIOF booth and all we had were newsletters and T-shirts. I heard someone mention it would be nice to have a model of an osprey platform to look at and thought right away it would be easy to make, especially after constructing 16 of the full-scale platforms.”

“The following Monday morning, I went into my garage and found enough scrap pieces of wood to put together the model,” he added. “I used a one-eighth scale and spent about two hours putting it together.”

PHOTO PROVIDED Made by Jim Columbo, the one-eighth scale model of the osprey platform has all the features of an actual platform.

The interactive model was ready for its first outing on Oct. 27 to BaileyFest.

“It is an interactive model with replicas of an adult osprey and chicks. There are fish in the water that the osprey can pick up with magnets and bring back to the nest that have chicks waiting,” Tucker said. “It is actually pretty cool.”

The model platform even has a predator guard and perch.

The display was created by TIOF Board Member Kathryn Brintnall.