Forest-friendly wood products
Ashland family makes bird feeders from only low-grade lumber
ASHLAND — Wayne Burns says you don't need to cut down old-growth forests to build bird feeders.
The idea is manufacturing techniques that add a lot of value to the lower-grade wood that's being underutilized, says Burns, who with his wife, Chris, and their son, Jason, created Naturalyards.
Naturalyards produces a line of bird feeders, bird houses, bat houses, squirrel feeders and screen trays, all made of locally grown incense cedar. Incense cedar, says Burns, reestablishes itself in logged areas.
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Bird feeders, nest boxes and backyard gifts
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: Northwest Nature Shop, Ashland; Magnolia, — Ashland; Wild Birds Unlimited, Medford — — Burns, who began making bird feeders 14 years ago, has developed an efficient production method in his Ashland home. Having converted one room to parts cutting and another to final assembly, he's able to make a lot of feeders in a short time.
We can process about 300 units per week, says the former finish carpenter and cabinet maker.
His products are distributed to hundreds of retail stores around the country.
Mike Uhtoff, owner of the Northwest Nature Shop in Ashland, has been selling Burns? feeders from the beginning. Ranging from $19.95 to $30, the feeders are attractive and affordable, Uhtoff says.
He uses a local wood. We appreciate that. And he's a local person, Uhtoff says. There's no shipping. Generally, we can get things quicker if we run out. I think it's a good deal for everybody.
Mark Stella, owner of Green Mountain Woodworks and former coordinator of the forest products program at The Rogue Institute, is excited about Burns? use of low-grade and scrap wood.
What Wayne is doing is getting a tremendous amount of value out of very little wood, says Stella. It's environmentally important. Very few companies in the Rogue Valley add as much value to wood.
Stella points out that it's Burns? efficient use of lumber as well as his skills and labor that create a valuable product.
It's totally imperative to have a business like Wayne's be successful, says Stella, for the long-term health of our forests and the long-term health of our wood products economy.
Burns? ideas don't stop with bird feeders. He's planning to increase his product line to include more landscaping accessories, such as footbridges, decking material and window boxes. He also hopes to expand his Web site, designed by his son, to include a chat room, registry for backyard bird sightings and a resource center.
Additionally, he wants to start a local bird-feeder-filling service.
It's an awareness we'd like to spread, says Burns, of how people can help the planet.