Once again, The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is offering bundles of rough-cut lumber to groups for building bluebird nest boxes.

For more than two decades, the DEP's Wildlife Division has offered rough-cut wood, nest box plans and fact sheets to Connecticut schools, Scout and 4-H groups, nature centers, conservation commissions and similar civic organizations as part of the Bluebird Restoration Project.

The wood for building nest boxes will be distributed to groups only on a first come, first serve basis. Group leaders should send a post card to the Wildlife Division's Wildlife Diversity Program, P.O. Box 1550, Burlington 06013-1550. Requests must include the following information: group leader's name, group name, mailing address, daytime phone number and number of bundles requested (limit two). Each bundle of wood will make 15 to 20 nest boxes.

All requests must be received by Jan.15. Only one request per group will be accepted. Participants will be notified in late January when and where they can pick up their wood. Groups of state residents with disabilities may call the Wildlife Division at 1(860)675-8130 or write to the Diversity Program at the above address for details on how to participate in this program.

Individuals interested in aiding Connecticut's bluebird population may obtain bluebird fact sheets with nest box plans, box locations and nest box survey cards by writing to the program. Information also is available on winterizing existing nest boxes and providing food for bluebirds, both during the winter and year round. Survey cards, for reporting box use and location are part of a statewide network that helps monitor bluebird population trends. The bluebird fact sheet and nest box plans also can be found in the wildlife section of the DEP's Web site at http://dep.state.ct.us/burnatr/wildlife.

All of the rough-cut lumber provided for the project comes from timber sales on Connecticut state forests. Each year, the DEP Forestry Division works with the state sawmill to ensure that enough rough-cut lumber will be available for this and many other important wildlife conservation projects. Managers of several state parks and forests also help the bluebird project by distributing wood to project participants from their facilities. The teamwork exhibited by the Forestry and Parks Divisions and the Wildlife Division's Wildlife Diversity Program has helped make the bluebird project a success for more than two decades.