Title - Schoolyard Habitat

Unused Space

School grounds throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed are typically large expanses of asphalt or mowed turf, with few trees, streams, or other natural habitats. Replacing barren school grounds with naturally diverse learning sites is recommended to improve teaching and learning opportunities, provide social growth opportunities for children, restore natural habitats, and instill environmental stewardship.

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Chesapeake Bay Field Office developed and promoted an active Schoolyard Habitats program that helps teachers and students create wildlife habitat on school grounds. Schoolyard Habitats increase student achievement through authentic, integrated problem-solving activities, and provide outdoor learning laboratories.

On the Ground

With our partners at USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service and Maryland Department of the Environment, we helped TC Martin Elementary School build a half acre wetland on their campus with no cost to the school. The project was designed to filter stormwater runoff from the school’s parking lot and provide a water source for local wildlife. The wetland will serve as an outdoor learning laboratory for students now and in the future as the project continues to grow.

  • About 700 students participated in a two-day planting of native trees, shrubs and herbaceous wetland plants, creating a half acre wetland.
  • Students were taught about how their local watershed is connected to the Chesapeake Bay watershed and how their wetland project helps the Bay.

Schoolyard Habitats

In 2005, the Schoolyard Habitat Program planned, designed, and completed 16 other projects at schools in five Maryland counties (Baltimore, Charles, Frederick, Howard, and Montgomery). Schoolyard Habitat Program staff also conducted 12 training workshops and presentations, for 325 teachers from Maryland, DC and Virginia.

For more information, please contact Karen Kelly-Mullin, Schoolyard Habitat Coordinator, (410)271-2481.

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Chesapeake Bay Field Office
Schoolyard Habitat Program

Students planting


Students find joy in environmental stewardship
Students find joy in environmental stewardship

Completed Schoolyard Habitat project
Completed Schoolyard Habitat project

Getting down and dirty
Getting down and dirty
USFWS photos

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