Tag Archives: New Haven Harbor Watershed

How was it creating your schoolyard habitat?


The urban partnership in New Haven builds on existing work by partners to improve and create wildlife habitat in urban areas, foster environmental education and hands-on conservation with youth, and encourage community-based land stewardship. Learn more

Last year, the Service designated a collaborative project in the New Haven Harbor Watershed as an urban wildlife refuge partnership. The project has been taking place in New Haven between the Service, Audubon Connecticut, along with other partners, and aims use schoolyards, vacant lots, city parks and front yards on public and private lands to create a network of wildlife-friendly habitat oases and improvements throughout the city. The partnership is in full swing with a few sites already designated. We asked New Haven third graders what their experience was creating their schoolyard habitat. Find out what they had to say below.

“The steps to making the habitat what it is now were hard. Our third grade class had to work really hard to get it done. First, we went outside to explore the space. As we were doing this, a wave of excitement went through our bodies. We felt this way because we were making our own outdoor classroom where we could learn about nature and about all different kinds of animals. We took pictures. I thought of the design in my head. We sat together in pairs and developed a plan for our vision of our schoolyard habitat.”


Third graders drew plans for their schoolyard habitat (lower crayon drawings). The adult leadership team used these drawings to build a master plan (top digitized drawing).

“The next day we started making our dreams come true! We started digging and planting all the flowers. I especially enjoyed digging holes. I liked feeling that I was a part of something important that was going on and I felt happy doing it.”


The third grade class works with high school students on New Haven’s Green Job Corp to make their Schoolyard habitat plan a reality.

“I am excited about seeing the different kinds of plants grow and start changing every day! I am also excited to look at the different insects that will be coming in soon. What we are most looking forward to is being able to have a peaceful place where we can write, read or just relax and forget all of your worries. We hope to see butterflies, hummingbirds, dragonflies, bees and so much more!”


Students work together to build the initial phase of their schoolyard habitat.

“I think that outdoor learning is important because people need to relax and let off stress.  Then people can learn more about nature.  We would have fresh air outside instead of sitting in our seats in our sweaty classroom. A schoolyard habitat is one of the best ideas I have heard of for a school. I knew that this was going to be a great idea from the start.”


Service staff work with students and teachers to replace turf grass with a native habitat. The bucket crew moved over 1,000 buckets of organic compost and mulch to serve as a base for this habitat.