Otago Polytechnic

Design student Harvey Penfold is helping gather data about birds in North East Valley, Dunedin - and last night, his project won him first prize in the Audacious Business Challenge 2017. Harvey takes home a $5000 prize with his Award.

Orokonui Ecosanctuary needed help designing a bird feeder, so the Bachelor of Design (Product) volunteered to help. The bird feeder needed to:

  • be installed in different properties on a sturdy steel waratah
  • cope with the weight of a heavy bird such as kaka as well as small bellbirds
  • offer food for both nectar-loving birds and seed-eating birds.

Harvey used his design skills and Otago Polytechnic's 3D printer to develop a platform for birds to use. A seed feeder hangs from the platform, and a nectar feeder hangs above it. A motion sensor triggers a camera nearby on another waratah to record bird visits to the feeder. Fifteen of his platforms have now been provided to Orokonui Ecosanctuary, ready for installation on properties in North East Valley, Opoho and Pine Hill. 

The feeders are a key component of the Valley Project's long-term project to make North East Valley an unfenced ecosanctuary, encouraging more native birds to visit and live there. Residents will be involved in gathering baseline information about which native birds come there and what they eat, which will inform decisions about which foods should be offered in future to attract which birds. This research is being undertaken with University of Otago scientists, sponsorship from Mitre 10, and support from the Orokonui Ecosanctuary to run the experiments.

Product Design Lecturer, Andrew Wallace, says it's great to see Harvey achieve success. "He's already putting his design skills to work on a real-world project which will have a positive environmental impact," he says. "We're delighted his work has been recognised with the top Audacious Award."

Harvey is holding workshops at Mitre 10 on Tuesday 3, Wednesday 4 and Thursday 5 October (11.00am-1.00pm).

Find out more about studying Product Design here.


Orderdate: 20 Sep 2017
Expiry: 30 Nov 2017