Michael Glenn, a biologist from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, visited La Mariposa to introduce students and staff to the concept of a Schoolyard Habitat. The assembly included a PowerPoint presentation with several photos of native plants and animals that a Schoolyard Habitat at La Mariposa could provide homes for. Mr. Glenn talked to students about endangered species and shared some success stories from the Ventura County area.
The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Schoolyard Habitat Program is designed to engage local communities in providing opportunities for children to experience and learn about natural resources through the planning and implementation of habitat restoration projects. Goals include:
- Building an understanding of and respect for nature and our environment
- Providing opportunities for hands-on learning, inquiry, observation and experimentation
- Providing habitat for local and migratory wildlife including birds, small mammals, reptiles, and insects
- Providing students with areas to explore, discover and play
- Creating opportunities for students to work cooperatively and to develop responsibility
If La Mariposa chooses to apply for a Schoolyard Habitat grant, students will be involved with the planning, implementation and ongoing care of the Schoolyard Habitat areas. Students will help research plant options and select species that are native to our region and that match the soil and sunlight conditions of our site.
The National Wildlife Federation outlines some ways that Schoolyard Habitats link to academic curricula. (www.nwf.org)
- 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 Habitat 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.