The 4-H Schoolyard Habitats Outreach program facilitates the engagement of K-12 students-and the greater school community-in hands-on wildlife conservation, citizen science, and outdoor nature-based education.
Engaging in environmental stewardship and citizen science awakens curiosity and encourages students to hypothesize, experiment, observe accurately, keep records, and think critically. In the process, students learn firsthand about the natural world and that small actions within their power can make a difference.
A core component of this program matches individual Master Gardeners and Virginia Master Naturalists, aka Outreach Partners, with individual school communities. These dedicated outreach partners seek to carry out program objectives within a tight timeline and in sync with the Virginia Standards of Learning.
PROGRAM OBJECTIVES Inspire school administrators; excite and train teachers; inform and involve parents; supply outdoor classroom investigation tools; extend hands-on learning with companion resources and hallway displays; introduce citizen science opportunities; and provide onsite mentorship to teachers.
PROGRAMMING FOCUSES (To Date)
• Monarch butterflies and Habitat Construction. At its inception in 2012, the program focused on monarch conservation and habitat. At the 12 pilot schools, students helped build or improve monarch habitat on school grounds with materials and native plants we were able to provide. • Birds and Habitat Improvement. During the 2015-2016 school year, a new focus on migratory birds and local native wild birds was introduced. • Project-based learning across the curriculum Words for Learning in the Habitat (PDF)
PROGRAM REACH. As of the 2015-2016 school year, our program reaches 18 public schools in York County and the City of Poquoson.