February 21 – Enhancing Your Schoolyard for Year-Round Nature Observations

School gardens and habitat improvement projects can provide the context for lessons across subjects and offer a wonderful opportunity to engage students in hands-on, project-based learning. Students who engage in school outdoor learning and school gardens are likely to experience academic, physical, emotional, social, and even behavioral benefits. Green schoolyards not only benefit students, but they can also benefit birds!

Kids in the garden holding up their hands.

In this webinar, educators will:

  • Learn key steps to setting up and maintaining your school gardens or schoolyard improvement project.
  • Discover how simple changes and additions can make your schoolyard more bird friendly.
  • Address several challenges school gardeners and habitat improvement projects may face.

We will be joined by guest presenter Dr. Arlene Marturano

Arlene Marturano grew up gardening with her family in northern Illinois.  Her very first personal garden was one she planted around a cedar playhouse. She sowed bachelor button, zinnia, cosmos, and marigold seeds around the perimeter and made bouquets, which she sold door to door until her mother discovered what she was doing. 

She was trained in outdoor teacher education and elementary education at Northern Illinois University and the University of Illinois. In her career as a teacher and university professor, she has used gardens as the context and content for instruction. Upon arrival in South Carolina she developed an environmental reading program using trees, wildflowers, butterflies, streams, frogs, and all natural phenomena as teachers in order to introduce reluctant readers to printed reading material. Gardens supply much of a child’s early reading material.

As a member of the American Horticultural Society she promotes the development of children’s gardens at schools and public places nationwide and was instrumental in developing the Carolina Children’s Garden, a 3-acre teaching garden with 12 theme gardens including a bird garden where she served on the board for twenty-four years.

As Director of the South Carolina Garden-based Learning Network and writer for the National Outdoor Learning Initiative, she conducts professional development for school districts on bringing instruction outside through outdoor classrooms and children’s gardens. She has published hundreds of manuscripts on outdoor science, garden and environmental education. She writes the weekly garden column for the Columbia Star.

Her Columbia home garden is a NWF backyard wildlife habitat, providing a laboratory for teaching and learning about plants and animals, especially native and migratory bird species. She has participated in Cornell’s Project FeederWatch since the start.

View the archived webinar on our YouTube Channel.