Madison elementary qualifies for ‘Certified Schoolyard Habitat’

MADISON – Madison Elementary School has successfully created a “Certified Schoolyard Habitat” with its “Garden for Wildlife” program.

The National Wildlife Federation recently verified Madison elementary’s achievement. The federation is America’s largest wildlife conservation and education organization.

“Our teachers and students are so excited about the educational opportunities that the new living laboratory stations will provide in our outdoor classroom,” Beth Woodard said. Woodard serves as gifted specialist at Madison elementary.

Their learning laboratory stations include pollinator gardens, butterfly gardens, a bog area, a small pond, raised vegetable gardens and a bird sanctuary. One resident even donated a bat house for the nocturnal flyers.

This Madison school joins more than 5,000 schools nationwide that have transformed their schoolyards into thriving wildlife habitats that provides essential elements needed by all wildlife. Students, teachers and volunteers have placed or installed natural food sources, clean water and protective cover for animals to raise their young.

The habitat also serves as an outdoor education site where students can engage in cross-curricular learning in a hands-on way, Woodard said.

“We are excited to have another school join our growing list of more than 5,000 certified Schoolyard Habitats,” Liz Soper said. Soper is Director of K-12 programs for National Wildlife Federation. “Kids can now personally experience nature through hands-on learning in an outdoor environment.”

National Wildlife Federation’s Garden for Wildlife program encourages responsible gardening that helps pollinators and other wildlife thrive. Officials encourage planting with native species like milkweed and discouraging chemical pesticide use.

With almost 200,000 locations and growing, the habitats recognize individuals, schools, groups and entire communities committed to providing habitat for wildlife, including pollinators. The spaces can transform lawns, schools, businesses, places of worship, campuses, parks, farms and other community-based landscapes into wildlife sanctuaries

With the federation’s approval, Madison elementary’s Certified Wildlife Habitat now is part of the Million Pollinator Garden Challenge, a national effort to restore critical habitats for pollinators.

For National Wildlife Federation news, call 1-800-822-9919 or visit nwf.org/news or nwf.org/habitat.

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