Schoolyard Habitats® are more than just wildlife gardens or outdoor classrooms. The entire process of planning, building and maintaining a schoolyard habitat provides a wide range of benefits to students, teachers, the administration and the community, as well as to wildlife.

Some of the many benefits of Schoolyard Habitats® include:

  • Increased student comprehension, performance and motivation
  • Local site for teachers for interdisciplinary studies
  • More opportunities and resources for creative instruction
  • Reduced costs for school grounds upkeep and maintenance
  • Restored habitat that gives local wildlife food, water, cover and places to raise their offspring

Academic Benefits of Schoolyard Habitats

The planning, design, implementation, and on-going monitoring and maintenance of a schoolyard habitat provides endless opportunities to meet and exceed high academic standards across the curriculum. Teaching with Schoolyard Habitats® as an integrating context across the subject areas can both support and deepen the quality of instruction and student engagement.

Educators who participate in the Schoolyard Habitats® program realize that use of these outdoor classrooms is an excellent way to meet the requirements of national and state educational standards.

  • Science Standards: A schoolyard habitat serves as a living laboratory where students engage in hands-on inquiries into the natural world.
  • Geography and Social Studies Standards: Geography and social studies involve understanding connections between people, social constructs and the environment, and the Schoolyard Habitats program can be applied successfully to help teach those connections by assisting students in understanding both space and place.
  • Math Standards: A schoolyard habitat provides students with the opportunity to apply math concepts to the real world; whether estimating numbers of plants in an on-site plant community or looking for geometric shapes in nature, an outdoor area is full of mathematical wonders.
  • English Standards: A schoolyard habitat provides a quiet space for creative writing about nature or a research laboratory where students can develop research, writing and communication skills.

In today's learning environments, where schools are striving to meet and exceed high standards of learning, educators and youth leaders must be creative in presenting content. The schoolyard can provide a valuable avenue for reinforcing concepts for students.

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Where We Work

More than one-third of U.S. fish and wildlife species are at risk of extinction in the coming decades. The National Wildlife Federation is on the ground in seven regions across the country, collaborating with 53 state and territory affiliates to reverse the crisis and ensure wildlife thrive.

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