Education > Schoolyard Habitats > Schoolyard Habitat Support
 

Schoolyard Habitat Support

 

 


A schoolyard wetland project is a unique opportunity to link learning to the landscape. Students practically apply textbook knowledge. When involved throughout all project phases, from setting goals, to design and choosing plants, to the actual construction of the wetland, students are empowered to take ownership and become stewards of their school grounds and within the community. This experience sets the stage for a lifetime of action and encourages the students to make a difference in the community and to the environment.

Creating the wetland is just the beginning. A schoolyard habitat transforms the schoolyard into a discovery zone, where students can explore the natural world and create a connection to it. Wetlands are a comprehensive educational resource - a living text book where students can learn about the water cycle, botany, food webs, soil, watersheds, and wildlife all in one place and first-hand. A wetland can also be used as a medium to teach non-science subjects such as art, math, English, foreign languages and social studies. With so many things to study, the same wetland can be used as a teaching tool from kindergarten all the way through high school and beyond.

EC takes a comprehensive approach to schoolyard wetland habitats. The design, construction and utilization involves the entire school – administration, faculty, facility managers, community members and most importantly students. Environmental Concern coordinates and facilitates the effort by providing teacher trainings, technical support, native plants, and installation oversight. 


 

1: Teacher Training
School-wide professional development trainings can be offered to teachers using internationally acclaimed wetland curriculum guides WOW! The Wonders of Wetlands and POW! The Planning of Wetlands. During the POW! training, the school will become aware of the background and benefits of wetlands and their functions and focus on how to create a habitat on their campus. The habitat creation process follows 12 interactive steps, and involves the students throughout the entire process. POW! involves measurements, brainstorming, design ideas, and planning.

Through WOW! teachers will gain the knowledge, tools, and resources to fully utilize the wetland habitat as an integrated component of the entire curriculum. They will come away with an understanding of the importance of schoolyard habitat use in the context of national and international pedagogy trends and actively participate in preliminary design processes including site selection and goal setting.


2: Habitat Design
An Environmental Concern Habitat Specialist, in conjunction with school facility maintenance personnel, lead educators and any chosen student leaders, conducts a thorough assessment of the schoolyard.  All collected data is taken back to Environmental Concern’s headquarters and converted into a detailed design with technical drawings, native planting plans and material lists.


3: Build the Wetland
Excavation assistance may be available from Environmental Concern for specific locations and projects.  Otherwise, EC can provide excavation recommendations to the contractors established by the school. 

Once it is time for the schools to put plants in the ground, EC is an experienced resource that you can count on. For most schools in the Chesapeake and Delaware Bay Watersheds, EC Educators can organize a planting day to fit the school schedule and involve all of the students in the wetland installation.  

Project assistance may include:

    • EC Native plants and delivery,
    • Lessons for students and planting oversight,
    • Necessary planting tools for the day (trowels, shovels, etc.), and;
    • Assistance with creation of a schoolyard habitat maintenance plan.

4: On-going Technical Support and Guidance
Environmental Concern Inc. is committed to the success of your project and will be available to answer questions that may arise regarding your project.  EC publishes two quarterly electronic newsletters just for wetland educators and habitat partners. NOW! News On Wetlands is full of ideas and opportunities to help enhance wetland education programming.  The Schoolyard Habitat Quarterly provides habitat updates, maintenance and monitoring ideas, as well as funding opportunities. 

By the end of the project the schoolyard has been transformed into a living classroom.

Ready to grow? For more information, please contact our Education Department at teachwetlands@wetland.org