Schoolyard Habitats® Program
"The objective is to teach the student to see the land, to understand what he sees, and enjoy what he understands."
- Aldo Leopold
The Schoolyard Habitats® Program was formally created in 1995 by the National Wildlife Federation as an extension of the Backyard Wildlife Habitat Program to focus specifically on assisting schools, teachers, students and community members in the use of school grounds as learning sites for wildlife conservation and cross-curricular learning. NWF recognizes the on-going efforts of schools across the country through a certification process. Certified schools provide essential habitat for wildlife, as well as use these sites as teaching tools integrated into the curriculum. To date, NWF has certified more than 1000 schools nation-wide! South Carolina has more than 150 certified schools across the state - the second highest number in the nation!
Creating a Habitat
Schools and learning centers across the country are beginning to acknowledge the growing problem of habitat loss in our world, and as a result, are creating wildlife habitat on their own school grounds. Habitat-based learning sites meet the needs of wildlife by providing the four critical habitat components:
- Places to Raise Young
Additionally, the creation of a Schoolyard Habitat site meets the needs of students, teachers, and the school community. The evolution of a habitat site is an ongoing learning process for all involved. It offers unlimited and diverse opportunities for active cross-curriculum learning and a new and creative outlet for meeting the requirements of national and state Standards of Learning.
Resources for Schoolyard Habitats:
- Visit the Backyard Wildlife Habitat page for all the details you need for attracting wildlife to any type of garden.
- For detailed instructions on creating Schoolyard Habitats, visit the National Wildlife Federation's Schoolyard Habitat Page. It includes details on acquiring grants and donations, use of the garden in the curriculum, maintenance issues, etc.
- SC Native Plants that are highly valued by wildlife.
- Landscapes for Learning Grant available for SC Schools
- Palmetto Pride “Challenge for the Environment” Grant
- Add elements of cultural and natural history to your habitat with the Carolina Fence™
Readings/Testimonials for Schoolyard Habitats:
Video featuring the Schoolyard Habitat at Sheridan Elementary courtesy of the Orangeburg Times and Democrat Newspaper