|Students often feel a sense of stewardship and pride in their schoolyard habitat after working hard alongside their parents and teachers to plan and implement the project. Photo by Audubon CT|
This past summer, six elementary schools in New Haven, Connecticut, unveiled the results of months of hard work to transform their campuses into rich habitat for wildlife and powerful learning environments for students. With support from the Service, Audubon Connecticut, Common Ground High School and the Yale Peabody Museum, leadership teams at participating schools created ambitious schoolyard habitat master plans. Students, staff, community volunteers, and members of Common Ground's Green Jobs Corps came together to put these plans into action—creating nature trails, pollinator and songbird habitat, rock and rain gardens, meadows with walking paths, interpretive signs using student artwork, and bird blinds for observation.
These new schoolyard habitats are a central part of the New Haven Urban Wildlife Refuge Partnership—creating a matrix of urban habitat restoration sites across the city. While these sites provide important habitat for pollinators, songbirds, and other wildlife, the also improve human and watershed health, revitalize neighborhoods, increase knowledge about Long Island Sound, and engage communities in conservation action.
This effort ultimately expanded to the point where it became one of the first officially designated Urban Wildlife Refuges in 2013. Connecting with this urban audience will continue to be a critical component in the pursuit of the Service's mission to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people.
Learn more about this project at http://1.usa.gov/1k5QAlo