Hooker, Columbus & Barnard create schoolyard wildlife habitats

Read the story in the New Haven Register here.
 
Read the story in the New Haven Independent here.
 
In June, three New Haven public schools – Worthington Hooker School, Columbus Family Academy, and Barnard Environmental Studies Magnet School – will unveil the results of months of hard work to turn their campuses into rich habitat for wildlife and more powerful learning environments for their students.
 
With the support of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Audubon Connecticut, Common Ground, and the Yale Peabody Museum, leadership teams at these three schools have created ambitious Schoolyard Habitat master plans for their campuses. This spring, students, staff, community volunteers, and members of Common Ground Green Jobs Corps have put the first stage of these plans into action – creating butterfly gardens, outdoor classrooms, pollinator plantings, walking trails, outdoor museum exhibits, and more.
 
Their work has been fueled by mini-grants to each school, made possible through support of the American Honda Foundation, the Carolyn Foundation, and the Long Island Sound Futures Fund. These new schoolyard habitats are a central part of the New Haven Urban Wildlife Refuge Partnership – creating a matrix of “urban oases” across the city, designated by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service as one of the nation’s first urban refuges in fall 2013.
 
Here is a summary of each school’s project:
 
Worthington Hooker School
Worthington Hooker School – already home to a pollinator garden – is expanding the Schoolyard Habitat with two new projects.  The third and fourth graders envisioned a hands-on habitat garden, with a nature trail and a specimen garden and compost/soil lab. The 6-7-8th grade Ecos gardening club designed an outdoor classroom and shade garden, nestled next to the cafeteria windows. 
 
Columbus Family Academy
Students, staff, and community volunteers are creating a courtyard habitat for butterflies and other pollinators including a water feature; two “life under logs” areas for digging, finding and learning about bugs, and exploring soil and decomposition; and a “lore plants” area for learning about medicinal and other traditional uses of plants.
 
Barnard Environmental Studies Magnet School
 
At Barnard Environmental Magnet, Phase I of work is to clear and create a trail around one of the selected learning zones/ outdoor classroom areas. Common Ground will support the Barnard team as they begin native planting around this area, and install an outdoor chalkboard to support classroom use of this area.