As urban development is encroaching more and more on native landscapes, animal habitats shrink and birds and other animals in those areas are displaced. But we can help the situation by creating gardens that restore just a little piece of their habitat – even if we only have a small backyard or apartment balcony.
In this episode, we visit an innovative school that uses natural habitat gardens as outdoor classrooms to reconnect children to nature and teach environmental science.
The Ford School is just outside of Atlanta, in Acworth, Georgia. Launched over 17 years ago with only $200 and a single gardening bed, the gardens today cover almost 20 acres and include several wildlife habitats, nature trails, pollinator gardens, and edible landscapes.
The school’s extensive science and environmental program teaches nearly 700 students and involves their parents in the process so that many generations learn environmental life lessons. Currently, every class (from music to math) spends at least some time outdoors and they extend those lessons to include a service and outreach component that includes the community around them.
David Mizejewski of the National Wildlife Federation tells us about creating wildlife habitats in our own schools, homes, businesses and parks.
Creating a habitat not only helps the critters, it allows you to enjoy getting close up with birds and butterflies and bring pollinators to your veggies! There is a great deal we can do, from simply providing shelter and water, to learning about specific food and host plants to attract specific animals.
There is even a program for certifying your wildlife habitat with the National Wildlife Federation, and let us tell you – putting that little plaque in the garden sure feels good!
Later in the episode, Chef Nathan Lyon gets a little “wild” with caramelized walnuts and beets in the kitchen. Delicious!
For more information:
- Creating a Natural Wildlife Habitat (National Wildlife Federation)
- Certify your Natural Wildlife Habitat (National Wildlife Federation)
- More about the educational gardens at Ford School
- Recipe: Roast Beet Salad with Caramelized Walnuts