Schoolyard Habitat Environmental Learning Labs (SHELL) deepen student, community, and teacher engagement in the National Wildlife Federation’s Eco-Schools USA program by creating and restoring wildlife habitat on school grounds and creating outdoor classrooms for place-based learning opportunities. Students engaged in SHELL will develop the 21st-century skills necessary for environmental STEM employment, while supporting and engaging family and community members to connect and participate in sustainable practices. Research has shown the design and management of schoolyard habitats influence children’s attitudes and behavior. The benefits for students' cognitive development include improved science, math, English, and social studies proficiency.
Eco-Schools USA will host personalized trainings to provide educators and administrators with research-based guidelines and ideas for how to utilize outdoor classrooms as learning labs. The National Wildlife Federation, with support from Amgen Foundation, is providing grants for SHELL installations, which will follow the Eco-Schools USA model designed to help schools increase student engagement in science and the natural world, lower its overall environmental footprint, and reduce expenses.