Members of the community visited Radney Elementary School Monday to read to students in honor of Dr. Seuss’ birthday, which was March 2. Above, Bro. Wayne Cowhick of Alexander City Methodist Church gives an animated reading of  Barnyard Boogie. Theodor Seuss Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss, wrote more than 60 childrens books. | Laura Pemberton
Each birdhouse is hand crafted using license plates, aluminum rivets and copper wire. | Austin Nelson

Archived Story

Building birdhouses for a cause

Published 12:32pm Tuesday, March 5, 2013

According to the World Health Organization, 37 percent of the developing world’s population don’t have access to clean drinking water.

A local Coosa County man is trying to buck that trend – one birdhouse at a time.

“Everybody in this world could have clean water, and it would take about $25 billion,” said Steve Bowlin. “ I think this is a goal that can be reached.”

Bowlin has been building birdhouses for the past six months and is using the proceeds to build wells in areas across the world where clean water is scarce.

He said he got the idea one day while he was fixing some of his wife’s birdhouses that they had collected from yard sales over the years.

“All of the birdhouses were falling apart,” Bowlin said. “I took them into my shop, and I cleaned them up, then shellacked and varnished them.”

One of them, however, needed a replacement roof. Bowlin said he found a stack of license plates and used one to fix the ailing roof – that is when inspiration struck.

“I decided to use the rest of them to build a complete birdhouse,” Bowlin said. “I started out by making crude ones. I would be driving down the road and see a (building) I liked, then I would scratch it down and go home to try and make it.”

Bowlin soon realized he was going to have to find something to do with his expanding collection of license plate birdhouses. Instead of selling them for profit, Bowlin decided to try to use them to raise funds for his church – Word Alive International Outreach. Bowlin specifically chose to gear his efforts toward their mission to feed and provide fresh water to those in need, known as Project 58.

“Our mission is to try to build four wells in 2013,” Bowlin said.

Each well cost $5,000 to build, but Bowlin said he isn’t asking for a specific donation for each birdhouse.

“I don’t charge (a certain amount) for them – whatever it is worth to somebody, I just feel that is what the lord has instructed me to take,” Bowlin said.

Bowlin added that he is constantly looking for more license plates. Each birdhouse takes about six plates to complete.

“I haven’t had to buy any (license plates) yet, but getting them is a challenge,” Bowlin said.

Those interested in purchasing a birdhouse or donating license plates to the cause can contact Bowlin at 256-750-5999.