While hiking through the old burn area on Mt. Cashmere’s southern flank last summer, I spotted a bright blue flash out of the corner of my eye. It was a Mountain Bluebird flitting amongst the dead bone-white trees. I watched with ecstatic fascination as the bird flew to a small circular hole where it nested in one of the trees. After the devastation of 1994’s wildfires, it was estimated that only four nesting pairs of blue birds remained in Leavenworth and surroundings areas. Today, those numbers have made a strong resurgence, and much of that is thanks to the hard work of one young man from Leavenworth, WA, Daniel Anderman.
Daniel, now 29, began constructing bird houses as a project in 8th grade. With help from the local Audubon Society, Daniel, with his teachers and parents, designed a Bluebird specific house to aid in their recovery. Since then, Daniel has produced over 2,000 birdhouses and has sold them to folks from around the region as well as organizations including the Forest Service and the Wenatchee Valley College for their construction of “Bluebird Trails.”
This brand of hard work and determination is impressive for anyone, but even more so when one considers that Daniel lives with a developmental disability. With the help of his family and the community, Daniel continues to produce birdhouses, and takes immense pride in his work. He owns the business and profits are reinvested into the company for necessary tools, lumber, and marketing. In this way, Daniel has not only found meaningful work for himself, but supports our local ecology and wildlife.
You can meet Daniel and purchase one of Daniel’s Birdhouses during the Leavenworth Bird Fest this Saturday, May 16, 2015 between 11am – 2pm at the Upper Valley Museum across from the Wenatchee River Institute. You can also find him most Thursdays between May and August at the Leavenworth Farmer’s Market.