Make it Wild – Bird boxes!

YuKonstruct and Fish and Wildlife Enhancement Trust‘s November Make it Wild Workshop was about making bird boxes for Yukon’s small cavity nesting birds–swallows, bluebirds and chickadees. The participants learned about local bird populations, tips to avoid squirrels, and how to pick a good spot to mount a bird box. Most of our participants were new to both YuKonstruct and the birding community – thanks for coming out!

This workshop was very popular and was sold out almost immediately. Because there was so much interest, we are providing Marty’s bird box plans here so that you can come into YuKonstruct and make one yourself!

Thanks to our biologist presenters and instructors for this excellent workshop: Katie Aitken and Marty Mossop!


  • Find a hollow log or one that’s rotten in the middle.
  • Cut about a 1 foot section. One end should be angled a bit, so that the roof will shed water.
  • Hollow out the entire log. A hammer and chisel (or even a big screwdriver) works well. An auger drill bit is best if the wood is hard. The diameter of the inside should be at least 10cm (4”) for chickadees, 13cm (5”) for swallows and bluebirds.
  • Drill the entrance hole with a hole saw. It should be about an inch below the top of the log. The diameter of the hole needs to match the size of bird (big enough for the bird to get in/out but not big enough for predators to gain access).  Range is 1-3/8” for chickadees, 1-3/8” to 1-1/2” for swallows, and 1-1/2” to 1-9/16” for bluebirds.
  • Nail/screw on a plywood top and bottom, to cover the open ends of the log. Screws allow the roof to be easily removed for cleaning etc. (although cleaning isn’t necessary).
  • Fill the bottom of the box with an inch or two of woodchips/sawdust.  The birds will bring in any other nest material that they need.  There should be several inches between the entrance hole and the top of the sawdust.
  • If desired, put wire mesh (1/2″ hardware cloth) or metal plating around the entrance hole to stop squirrels from making it bigger
  • Nail/screw a piece of lumber, a bit longer than the log, to the back for attaching to a tree, post, wall, etc.
  • It’s best to mount the box on a metal pole so that predators such as cats/squirrels/chipmunks/mice can’t get to it.  Another option would be the side of a building that has smooth siding that a predator can’t climb.  Avoid larger trees and fence posts as those are easy for predators to climb.
  • If you have outdoor cats, please consider not putting out a box (or a bird feeder).
Home sweet home: Mountain chickadee nestlings in a bird box!

More resources!

Nest box plans (also have information on avoiding predators, box placement, etc.):

Nest box monitoring/reporting:

Looking back at the journey

If you’re a frequent visitor to you are undoubtedly familiar with the slideshow that has graced our homepage since September 2014.

Now that this tribute to the early days of YuKonstruct is over two years out of date, we’ve decided to retire it from its place of honour. The makerspace has changed a lot since that Animoto video was created and the photos no longer reflect the vibrant community workspace that we have become.

Take a look back with us at the beginnings of the YuKonstruct we love today. (If you’re having trouble loading the video below, try viewing it on Animoto)


Thank you so much Andrew for making the video that has served us so well over the last 2 years!

Meet the Makers: Jaret

Meet the Makers is a series of interviews to help you get to know the people who are building our makerspace. Jaret Slipp is YuKonstruct and (co)space’s new Executive Director and Financial Sustainability Manager. Please come out and meet Jaret at the BBQ we are hosting on August 24 at YuKonstruct’s makerspace.

  • How and why did you get involved with YuKonstruct?
    Jaret: I joined through (co)space right at the beginning of the co-working space. I have always wanted to join the maker space, but hadn’t made the move, but when (co)space was in the works, it was just what I needed: a place to work and feel a part of a community of movers and shakers. I tried it out for a month and really liked the casual yet professional and inspiring feel of the place. The more I connected and got involved with site moderation and learning more about YuKonstruct, the more I wanted to keep being a part of this energy.

  • What do you like most about YuKonstruct being up and running?
    Jaret: I like that the organization is a conduit to draw Yukon talent out of the woodwork and to connect us into a self-fulfilling community. The Yukon is a small community, but we have a high density of talented individuals combined with a culture of creativity and and a “can-do” attitude. I think YuKonstruct is a perfect platform to just give that extra little support and advantage to people with ideas to take things to the next level, what ever that may be. If we are all taking something to the next level, that is good for the Yukon community, economy, and all of our well-being.

  • What do you think will be YuKonstruct’s biggest challenge?
    Jaret: A topic that is at the core of my new role at YuKonstruct is the need to transition from start-up capital to sustainable revenue streams. We will need to find a balance of self-generated income, private sponsorship, and government and project grants. Balance and sustainability, while staying true to our core mission and purpose will be a key challenge in the near future.

    Also, peripheral to this, but relevant to increasing sustainability, is going to be the challenge of growing awareness and understanding of our amazing resources in this community. We will need to evolve and continue to offer relevant programming to makers and entrepreneurs of all types, while communicating success stories and showcasing the value and impact of Yukonstruct and (co)space as social and economic assets. This is going to take collective action by the entire YuKonstruct community.

  • What advice do you have for other makers or entrepreneurs in the Yukon?
    Take your idea and make a prototype, just do it, and show it, don’t be shy, share it get feedback and reiterate. This includes business ideas: get out of the idea stage, get out of letting it stew in your head. Things will move faster and better if you throw it on the table and say “what do you think folks?”

  • What are you working on now?
    Jaret: I am building a lot in a new house we moved into, and my current project is to join two raw-edge slabs of Tagish Lake spruce drift wood I got from rustic north into a L-shaped bar top. I will likely use iron piping for supports – I am going for an industrial piping look with raw bark edges on the wood counter top. Hope it turns out well, it will be a central part of our kitchen.

2016: the Year of the Maker?

2016 is the Year of the Monkey.  Apparently monkeys are fast learners and crafty opportunists. Sound familiar?

As we start a new year, it is worth reflecting on what we have collectively achieved and where we are headed.  Two years ago this month, over 200 people came together and said yes, we want a makerspace in the Yukon!  Within nine months, a group banded together to form a society, secure a location, and open our doors.  A little over a year, we started to offer programming.  Today, we have two fabulous staff, a robust CORE team and Board, over a hundred members and reputation of being a positive contribution to our community.

In the spirit of supporting creativity and entrepreneurship, YuKonstruct opened a sister project: the Yukon’s first ‘curated coworking space’: (co)space.  I am writing this blog from (co)space and only a couple months in, I am looking at a new and vibrant community of entrepreneurs starting to emerge.

Talk about crafty and opportunistic!

These are exciting times for both our makerspace and coworking space.  As volunteers and staff, we should all be proud of what we have achieved.  I want to thank all our volunteers and staff – Logan, Adria, Alessia, Vero and Tanya our bookkeeper – who are doing amazing stuff.  We are also very grateful to our supporters who are supporting our dream: Yukon Government Economic Development, Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency, Cold Climate Innovation, Northwestel, What’s Up Yukon, the City of Whitehorse, Yukon Brewing, Home Hardware, and others.

Looking forward, 2016 will be an exciting and important year for us.  Let’s continue to be crafty and opportunistic.

The organization recognizes a need to transition from a start-up organization to a more professional, efficient, and robust organization.  This is critical for our long-term sustainability.  To help us navigate this transition, the organization is starting a strategic planning process this month and is excited to be working with respected Whitehorse consultants Mark Nelson and Angela Walkley of Cambio Consulting.

What is the benefit of a strategic plan?  According to Business Development Canada, a strategic plan provides an organization a ‘road-map’ and ‘action-plan’ by identifying specific activities, due dates, and responsibilities.  A Strategic Plan also empowers an organization to grow in a coordinated, systematic, and informed fashion. More broadly, the process will also allow us to review the fundamental questions of who we are, what we believe in, where we want to go, and how we will get there.  Lofty, perhaps, but vital for the success of any endeavour.  Consensus and coordination on future direction is precisely what YuKonstruct needs right now.  For example, has or will YuKonstruct outgrow our current location and why?  If yes, what are our projected needs and how are we going to secure a new location in a sustainable way?  These are the types of questions this process will allow us to dig into in a coordinated and systematic way.

I am asking everyone with an interest in YuKonstruct and (co)space to participate in this opportunity.  This is your chance to help determine our future.  Stay tuned.

Together, let’s make 2016, the Year of the Monkey, also the Year of YuKonstruct and (co)space.  I’m getting excited…let’s do this!

Reflecting on Year 1

It’s hard to believe YuKonstruct officially opened its doors one year ago.  Where have we come from?


Keys to yuKonstruct
In a year we have transitioned from a start-up to a fully functioning organization.
The numbers:
  • We have hovered around 80 full-time members, at one point cracking 100.
  • We have dozens of committed and passionate volunteers.
  • We have facilitated over 60 events.
  • We have hosted over 700 person-visits.
Today, we have a positive brand that represents creativity, positivity, and making things happen.  We are being approached by other not-for-profits, governments, and companies because they see YuKonstruct as a vehicle for potential.
Our community has been very generous.  We owe particular thanks to our funders and supporters:  Yukon Government Economic Development, Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency, and Yukon College.  We also owe thanks for our corporate partners such as Northwestel, Home Hardware, What’s Up Yukon, Yukon Brewing, and many others.  We would like to particularly recognize the Technology and Telecommunications Development Directorate Team at Economic Development who have championed our cause and helped us from Day 1.


humble beginningsBut support also comes in other forms, particularly sweat equity.  You can have all the funding, the tools, the space…but without the people, you have nothing.  So, to the people who believed in us and supported us along the way, thank you.  To the volunteers who have put in countless hours, thank you.  I would particularly like to recognize those who regularly show-
up at CORE Team meetings, site-moderators, those who have contributed to building the space, to the Board, and to our staff.
On reflection, I think part of our success is our culture.  Fundamentally, we trust each other and as builders, believe that everyone is ‘building’ in their own way towards a better organization and a more creative, confident, and entrepreneurial Yukon.  Trust in each other is something we have built and should protect.
I also believe our unique governance structure plays a large part in our success.  We have two overlapping bodies – the Board of Directors and a CORE team (open to all members) – that work together.  The Board takes on administrative aspects of the organization and attempts to remove barriers so that the CORE Team, which directs operations, can perform freely.  To be sure, there have been growing pains but our fundamental trust in each other and attempt for fluid and transparent communication has kept us afloat.
Everyday, I am witnessing the creativity that is in all of us.  When given the tools, the knowledge, and the confidence to make (and, yes, ‘break’) anything, amazing things happen.  For individuals and for our community.


Here’s to an exciting year 2!

Winterval Santa Clause Parade

This past weekend, YuKonstruct was a part of Yukon Educational Theater’s 7th annual Winterval Santa Clause Parade.

Inspired by Aidan Chopra’s cardboard Grumman F4F-4 costume, we decided to make laser-cut cardboard airplanes for some of our youngest members to wear in the parade.

The planes were designed by Chris Lloyd, one of our members, in SketchUp. Once the plans were finished, preparing the cardboard, cutting it on the laser and assembling the planes was a real team effort! You can read all about the step-by-step process of designing and building the planes on Instructables.

Air North donated the custom vinyl decals for the wings and tails, which really finished the look!


The planes were a huge hit with the kids and everyone at the parade. If you’d like to make your own here at YuKonstruct all you need is cardboard and safety training on the Epilog laser.


Christmas Cards and Chibitronics Build Night

Instructables sent us a package of Chibitronics circuit stickers and we were excited for our members to get to play with them at our drop-in Christmas card workshop last week.

Christmas Cards

We put together two project kits with the Chibitronics stickers:

We also had 3 other craft kits for people to make:

The step-by-step instructions for all five projects are available on if you’d like to make them at home. Check out YuKonstruct’s Instructables profile:


We were super impressed with the creative cards everyone made!



Inaugural General Meeting

This week 65 enthusiastic makers attended our first ever Special General Meeting!


The directors delivered the state of the union, outlining how far we’ve come and where we need to go from here.


One of the goals of the meeting was to bring new people into YuKonstruct, so we were thrilled to see lots of new faces and sign up 6 new members! Two new directors were also elected; welcome and thank you Lisa and Seamus!

After a quick break for pizza, there was a ‘big ideas’ brainstorming session. We generated, as one participant said, “a galaxy of cool ideas!”   John, one of the directors, described the night as a watershed moment in our evolution.

Now what?
All the ideas from the brainstorming session are currently on the whiteboard.  Come check ’em out!  Next week the directors and core team will start figuring out the next steps towards bringing some of those ideas to life.


We’re Officially Open!

On September 16th we officially opened our doors. Thank you to all those who came out to help us celebrate! We were thrilled with the level of support from the community. Our yard was packed with enthusiastic makers who helped us put together the mystery community art project: a YuKonstruct sign for our shop.

Just like the puzzle pieces that form the finished sign, opening this makerspace would not have been possible without the many contributions we’ve received from generous donors and sponsors.

So what now?

Being officially open means we are now accepting members. Our membership rates can be found here: Cospace & Makespace

If you’re curious about the space you can always stop by on any of our open house days – Tuesdays at 7pm. Here you can get a tour of our space, check out the projects we’re working on, and learn about the awesome upcoming workshops.


YuKonstruct’s First Build Night – LEDs

Thank you to everyone who made YuKonstruct’s first build night a huge success!

We don’t officially open our doors for memberships until September but we’re excited to have already hosted some great events. This week we had over 60 people, of all ages, in our makerspace for the Instructables LED Build Night.

We had 3 different project kits prepared for people to make:

The step-by-step instructions for all three projects are available on if you’d like to make them at home. Check out YuKonstruct’s Instructables profile:

In addition to the project kits, we also had a table set up for kids to play with squishy circuits (conductive play dough), and lots of extra LEDs and craft materials for people to experiment with. Everyone left with a smile, some new knowledge about LEDs and of course, the project they built themselves. We’re extremely grateful to Instructables for sending us the LEDs that made it possible.

We’re already looking forward to our next build night in September!
But before then, there’s our Grand Ribbon Cutting Event happening Tuesday September 16, 2014 from 6-9pm. Mark it in your calendars!


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