Pacific Southwest Region
California, Nevada and Klamath Basin

Schoolyard Habitat Program

The Schoolyard Habitat Program helps teachers and students create wildlife habitat at their own schools. Typical projects include: wetlands, meadows, forests and variations based on specific ecoregions.

Many projects are planned through multiple phases and change over time as children from various classes build upon the existing work of past students. We work with your school to provide:

  • technical assistance and project guidance
  • teacher training,
  • develop written materials

Our goal is to provide technical and organizational assistance to school, so they can create outdoor classrooms that are effective as educational tools in addition to being a sustainable habitat for many years to come.

Please download the following Fact Sheet for more information on the Schoolyard Habitat Program:

benefits of schoolyard habitats

  • Schoolyard Habitat projects are designed to achieve the mission and goals of the school, the Service, and the community. They address multiple environmental and educational concepts that benefit all involved, particularly the students.

    Ecologically sound: Schoolyard habitat projects provide habitat for local and migratory wildlife including songbirds, shorebirds, small mammals, reptiles, amphibians, insects and more. In many cases, these habitats also provide a vegetative buffer to nearby streams, helping to reduce pollution reaching these waterways. To be ecologically sound the schoolyard habitats must be large enough in size and scope so they have a lasting impact on the local environment.

    Integrated into the curriculum: Schoolyard habitats offer many teaching and learning opportunities in English, science, mathematics, history, geography, social studies and art. The process of planning, creating and using a schoolyard habitat exposes children to unique hands-on experiences. A well-designed schoolyard habitat provides the opportunity for authentic long term data collection, which teachers attest is an important element for effective teaching.

    Stewardship: Research has shown that during the formative years of life, students develop perceptions and values about their environment. If designed and managed well by students, schoolyards can provide them with a powerful example of good land stewardship. Experts have demonstrated that young children are driven to explore, discover and play while refining motor skills. A schoolyard that includes a diversity of natural areas allows students to exercise these needs while nurturing the development of a land ethic that values natural spaces.

    Restoring a native habitat on a school site provides opportunities for:

    Children: to develop knowledge and skills as they undertake an exciting, real-life project.
    Teachers: to use the broad context of restoring the school yard to help enliven teaching and learning that can weave through the curriculum from kindergarten through 12th grade and beyond.
    A school: to create opportunities for community involvement and diversify the schoolyard environment.

Restoring a school landscape provides the opportunity to engage students in:

  • -- Scientific inquiry in a meaningful context;
    -- Hands-on, minds-on learning;
    -- Real-life, important decisions that build confidence and resiliency;
    -- Interdisciplinary learning in a broad context;
    -- Work among peers, classes, grades and schools.
    -- Community involvement through cooperative projects.

program coordinator

For more information about the Schoolyard Habitat Program in California, Nevada and Klamath Basin, contact:

Carolyn Kolstad
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Pacific Southwest Region
Schoolyard Habitat Program
11641 Blocker Drive, Suite 110
Auburn, CA 95603
Office: (530) 889-2308 Cell: (916) 201-3051

Local contacts

Klamath Falls Fish and Wildlife Office
Akimi King, Phone (541) 885-2515
1936 California Ave.
Klamath Falls, OR 97601 Email:

Yreka Fish and Wildlife Office
Jennifer Jones, Phone (530) 841-3109
1829 S. Oregon Street
Yreka, CA 96037

Northern Nevada Fish and Wildlife Office

Michelle Hunt, Phone(775) 861-6341
1340 Financial Blvd, Suite 234
Reno, NV 89502

Cosumnes River Preserve
Karleen Vollherbst
Phone (916) 775-4421, Ext. 172
Stone Lakes National Wildlife Refuge
1624 Hood Franklin Road
Elk Grove, CA 95757

Sacramento Schoolyard Habitat Website

Ventura Fish and Wildlife Office
Michael Glenn, Phone (805) 644-1766 Ext. 328
2493 Portola Road, Suite B
Ventura, CA 93003

San Diego National Wildlife Refuge
Chantel Jimenez, Phone (619) 476-9150
1080 Gunpowder Point Dr.
Chula Vista, CA 91910