Education > Schoolyard Habitats > Why Build a Schoolyard Habitat?


Why Should You Build A Schoolyard Wetland Habitat?

I. Improve the Watershed
Today schools and educational complexes consist of multiple buildings, parking lots and playing fields, all nearly impervious to precipitation. Multiplying the number of acres of land per school by the total number of schools, results in significant acreage.

Schoolyard habitats provide for local and migrating wildlife populations. They can offer corridors between fragmented ecosystems. These areas can collect large quantities of runoff and allow it to infiltrate and filter instead of washing downstream to create damage to the local watershed.

Elementary 5-10 Acres
Middle 20-30 Acres
High School 30-40 Acres
Pennsylvania 3,183
Ohio 3,827
Maryland 1,342
Louisiana 1,508
PA 1,814,311
OH 1,835,049
MD 852,920
LA 743,089

II. Foster Stewardship
While only a fraction of the population may visit a park or nature center highlighting wetlands, a majority of the community is involved with the school system. The population of students is increased with the addition of family, educators and support staff. In fact, most adults learn about environmental issues through their children who learn it at school. Therefore, a schoolyard wetland habitat has the potential to be the first step toward stewardship of wetlands by teaching the community about the importance and relevance of wetlands to their lives.

III. Create A Place of Wonder and Discovery
It is estimated that by the end of sixth grade, a student will have spent on average, 2000 hours in the schoolyard. A schoolyard wetland habitat transforms the schoolyard into a zone of discovery, where students can explore the natural world and create a connection to it. What can be more fun than catching a frog or watching dragon flies dart?

IV. Improve Educational Achievement
What we have thought for a long time is finally being proven. Environmental education and schoolyard habitats help students learn.

One national study, conducted by the State Education and Environment Roundtable (SEER) found:

  • 100% of schools using environment-based learning had students with improved behavior, attendance, and attitudes relative to traditional schools.
  • 77% of schools with environment-based curriculum had improved standardized test scores and 73% had improved Grade Point Averages.
  • 93% of educators surveyed observed a positive impact on the learning environment created by schoolyard learning activities, which lead to improved teaching and learning.