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Wildlife Habitats on School Grounds
Many schools around the world are encouraging local wildlife to visit their school grounds by enhancing the physical environment around their buildings. Schools that provide food and water sources, as well as wildlife cover and nesting areas, are frequently able to attract a variety of wildlife species to their grounds. Such species can range from butterflies and birds, to lizards, rabbits, deer, and fish, depending on the school's location and the quality of the habitat they provide.
Some fortunate schools have existing forests, ponds, creeks, prairies, and other native habitat patches adjacent to their grounds. Other lucky schools have a relatively undisturbed area of native plants on their own land. In both of these cases, schools can work to enhance the wildlife habitat value of the site, and develop trails and study areas to make it more useful for hands-on lessons.
Most urban and suburban schools, however, find themselves with a "blank slate," wiped clean by bulldozers and capped with a continuous covering of asphalt, concrete, or lawn. It takes more work to bring wildlife back to these school sites, but don't despair! It is possible. Many of the successful examples listed below started their projects with similar situations.
The list of resources below will help you to get started on creating a wildlife habitat at your own school, and the list of case studies will give you ideas about what other schools have done.
Please contact the webmaster if you know of additional resources or case studies that should be added to this page. Thanks! firstname.lastname@example.org
Resources for Schoolyard Wildlife Habitats
|School Name||Project Title||Location|
|Casa Grande High School||United Anglers of Casa Grande and the Adobe Creek Restoration Project. High school students raise endangered fish at an impressive hatchery they designed and built on their school grounds. Students have also extensively restored a neighborhood creek over the last 15+ years.||Petaluma, California, USA|
|Montgomery High School||Beautiful native plants garden in San Diego. Students and teachers transformed a barren patch of hard packed earth into a living, blooming wildlife habitat, complete with native plant communities from around San Diego and beautiful student artwork made from recycled materials.||San Diego, California, USA|
|Coal Creek Elementary School||Butterfly garden||Louisville, Colorado, USA|
|Golfview Elementary School||Wildflower project, butterfly and hummingbird gardens, environmental club||Rockledge, Florida, USA|
|Potter Street Elementary School||Patriot's Sanctuary: courtyard wildlilfe habitat for birds, squirrels, butterflies, bees, frogs, and other creatures||Bainbridge, Georgia, USA|
|The Rice School/La Escuela Rice||Tree-related science projects on the school site||Houston, Texas, USA|
|Princeton Middle School||Butterfly and hummingbird garden||Princeton, New Jersey, USA|
|Southern Pines Elementary School||New York Times article about a school that created an onsite nature area to use as an outdoor classroom.||Southern Pines, North Carolina, USA|
|SCALE: South Carolina Academic Learning Environment||"...SCALE
is a six-acre map of South Carolina with interstate highways, rivers,
lakes, cities, historical markers, nature sites, and native plants.
It is an outdoor facility where students can actively engage in learning,
be it mathematics, science, geography, South Carolina history, environmental
issues, reading, writing
SCALE lends itself to lessons that
span the content areas giving students the opportunity to see the
world as interconnected rather than segmented pieces."
||South Carolina, USA|
Schoolyard Wildlife Habitats around the World
|Grandview U'uqinak'uuh Community School Yard||Bird, butterfly, and hummingbird gardens, including plant lists and design considerations||Vancouver, BC, Canada|
|Boyne River Natural Science School||Facility used by schools in the Toronto, Ontario area for outdoor and science education||Shelburne, Ontario, Canada|
|Sunningdale Elementary School||Dreamacres naturalization project||Oakville, Ontario, Canada|
|University of Toronto, St. George Campus||Paper about "Increasing Ecological Function of the University of Toronto's St. George Campus through the Naturalization of the Campus' Open Space"||Toronto, Ontario, Canada|
|Ridgeway Primary School||Wildflower meadow, pond, tree planting||Burntwood, Staffordshire, England|
|Gorsemoor Primary School||School ground naturalization project: planted 10,000 trees, created a maze from living willows, work with a nearby ancient heathland, etc.||Cannock, Staffordshire, England|
|Richard Wakefield Primary School||Wildflowers, living willow bird hide and maze, recycling program, orchard, vegetable garden.||Staffordshire, England|