BEST Robotics student, Logan Sledge, assists a resident painting a birdhouse at Burns Nursing and Rehab facility

RUSSELLVILLE, ALA. — Northwest Alabama BEST Robotics student, Logan Sledge, had an idea to do something special this summer for the residents of Burns Nursing and Rehab, and Northwest Shoals Community College (NWSCC) math instructor and Best Robotics Co-Hub Director, Kim Sheppard, was excited to help.

“We always focus on being environmentally responsible with the materials and supplies for every BEST Robotics competition,” stated Sheppard. “I always encourage our students to think of ideas for us to repurpose any materials that were used to benefit our community.”

Logan Sledge, a student at Covenant Christian School, had the idea to transform the houses that were used in the 2019 BEST Robotics game day competition into birdhouses for nursing home residents. After taking the houses, drilling holes in each, and placing a floor on them, they were ready to be distributed to the residents.

Eleven birdhouses were delivered to Burns Nursing and Rehab in Russellville, Ala., last week. Residents were then able to paint them before they were displayed outside the facility.

According to Sledge, this was a way to give back. “I wanted to recycle the birdhouses because I wanted to give back to the people that came before us,” said Sledge. “I wanted them to be able to have a good time with the houses like we did, just in a different way.”

Burns Nursing and Rehab was an easy choice for the birdhouses since Sledge’s mother, Anna, works there as the Clinical Educator/Infection Preventionist.

The BEST Robotics season will kick off on September 25, 2021, on the NWSCC Shoals campus by unveiling the theme for this year’s competition, Demo Daze 2021. This year’s competition is focused on construction safety and demolition in an environmentally safe way. Approximately 20 teams are expected to compete schools across Northwest Alabama and Southcentral Tennessee.

Northwest Alabama BEST Robotics is a workforce development partnership between the Shoals Chamber of Commerce and Northwest Shoals Community College. Each fall, approximately 850 middle and high schools and over 18,000 students participate in the competition nationwide.

Teachers may register their teams at