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Schoolyard Habitat Program

A Schoolyard Habitat workshop is a six-hour, basic introduction that covers some of the technical aspects of establishing wildlife habitat on school property. The workshop is provided free of charge, and there is no prerequisite to attend.

Who is it for?

The Schoolyard Habitat Program is primarily intended for classroom teachers of grades K-12 who are just getting started with a schoolyard project. However, Master Naturalists and 4-H youth leaders may also attend, since many community gardens and planting projects occur on school properties and are done in cooperation with volunteers.

How is it set up?

Because the most successful schoolyard projects are those which involve all grade levels and all subject areas, Schoolyard Habitat workshops are intended for all of the faculty at one school. In those cases where there is a county-wide interest, workshops may be arranged for an entire district, with participants coming from more than one school. Workshops can also be tailored to accommodate other needs on a case-by-case basis.

What does the workshop cover?

Participants learn how to use their schoolyard as an instructional setting to meet several Standards of Learning. Part of the workshop day involves spending time outdoors, looking at habitats and learning how they could be improved.

Highlights include:

  • ideas for getting started
  • examples of other schools that have projects underway
  • inventorying and mapping the schoolyard
  • activities that can be used in the schoolyard
  • basic habitat design elements
  • choosing plants suitable for wildlife

At the end of a full-day workshop, each participant receives a Homes for Wildlife schoolyard planning guide, a 20/20 Projects and Activities guide, and numerous other teaching resources.

Planning a workshop

To discuss your school’s workshop needs, contact:

Carol A. Heiser, Wildlife Habitat Education Coordinator
Virginia Department of Game & Inland Fisheries
(804) 367-6989