Team P.I.E. competed at the Dallas-Fort Worth regional First Lego League competition on Saturday, Feb. 4. They ended the day in 13th place in the robot competition among the 60 teams that competed there. More importantly, Team PIE was awarded the Regional Global Innovation Award, complete with a Lego-built trophy. This award provides the team with a nomination for the First Global Innovation Prize of $10,000 towards the furthering of their project. FLL has three focuses: the robot and its design and programming, core values showing good team work and promotion of healthy competition, and the project where the team strives to solve a problem in a new and innovative manner.

PIE’s project was the design of an artificial snag — a dead tree that provides food and shelter to animals — as a replacement to natural snags that are often removed from developed areas because they are ugly and unstable. They call their project the Various Animal Artificial Snag Habitat, and it can be seen at the Jana Thomson Public Garden at Rucker Elementary and soon at Cristina’s Stone and Garden Store on Preston Road in Frisco. The PIE team has submitted a provisional patent application for their design and they are gearing up to start making more.

The V.A.A.S.H. is created from a piece of 6-inch or 8-inch diameter sewer or PVC pipe between 6-14 feet in length. The pipe is set vertically in the ground with the lower portion being a composting area, home to decomposers. Animals that eat decomposers can feast there as well. The upper portion of the pipe is converted to nesting cavities. The top is fitted with a bird bath or nesting platform. The initial V.A.A.S.H. were created from donated pipes that would have otherwise gone to landfills. If a building or plumbing company has leftover sections of pipe available for donation, or to find out more about the V.A.A.S.H. or FLL, contact Anna Seibert at or visit the PIE Facebook page.