Bird box . . . Maheno School pupils have helped to make 20 new penguin boxes for the Oamaru Blue Penguin Colony through Pat's Penguin Project. Delivering the boxes last week are (from back left) Thomas Oakes, Ruby Bentley, Liam Brown, Hunter Cotter (all 10), and James Fitzwater (11), and (from front left) Emily Moss, Phoebe Hay and Ana Malafu (all 10). PHOTO: KAYLA HODGE

Patrick Dillon has always had a soft spot for little penguins.

With some support from Confidence Can…, Pat’s Penguin Project has been brought to life.

The project is based on building new penguin boxes for the Oamaru Blue Penguin Colony which provide little penguins a home to lay their eggs in.

Mr Dillon, through his job at the Waitaki Resource Recovery Park, was working with Confidence Can… literacy consultant Lee Clark when they began discussing opportunities for Mr Dillon to help the birds.

Soon enough the project flourished and a cross section of the community banded together to make it happen.

Materials from PlaceMakers were delivered to the Menz Shed, where volunteers cut the wood into pieces for the Department of Conservation-approved boxes to be made.

In order to get more generations involved, Mr Clark contacted Maheno School and the material was then given to the pupils to build the boxes.

Giving back . . . Patrick Dillon is loving helping give little penguins new homes through his initiative, Pat’s Penguin Project. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

The project ticked several boxes, Mr Clark said.

“It’s got the ecological side, it’s got different generations involved with each other and it’s a community thing and it’s got the literacy stuff,” he said.

“What we’re hoping for is by linking the Menz Shed with the schools, we can just keep supplying these guys.”

Eight Maheno pupils delivered 20 boxes to the colony last Thursday, and were given a tour by environment and science manager Dr Philippa Agnew.

The pupils had also spent time learning about penguins before they built the boxes at school.

Dr Agnew said the colony had 350 boxes, and 300 at the Oamaru Creek site. The new boxes would be used to replaced damaged ones.

“They’ve done such a great job and it really takes the pressure off us,” Dr Agnew said.

Other schools throughout the district had expressed an interest in being involved in the project.