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Environmental Institute of Houston > Environmental Education > School Habitats

School Habitats

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In this country, generations of children are being raised with limited exposure to the outdoors and are not afforded the opportunity to learn about the natural environment. In metropolitan areas such as the greater Houston area, many children live in an urban setting and do not have access to the natural world. For those young people who do live in suburban and rural communities, the opportunity may exist for them to visit a natural area, but they often do not have anyone to teach them or share experiences with them regarding these natural surroundings. Ultimately, children are growing up without experiencing or understanding the land around them.

Many teachers have recognized their students’ disconnection from the environment and have looked for ways to fill this gap. In an effort to effectively educate their students about the natural world, teachers have realized that the schoolyard can be transformed into a natural habitat that students can use to experience the outdoors and study the environment. As a result, there has been an increased interest in building school habitats for today’s students, as well as exposing students to demonstration habitat gardens where programs can be arranged to fit their curriculum needs.

EIH’s School Habitat Program addresses the needs of both students and teachers by hosting workshops and programs at our demonstration schoolyard habitat to offer teachers the information and resources necessary to create inviting natural spaces at their schools where outdoor learning can take place, and to offer programs for student field trips and summer nature camps. These spaces engage students, link curriculum to state standards, and connect students to their environment.

Workshop topics include the basics of habitats, birding, insects, aquatic ecology, mammal studies, and how to link state curriculum including math, language arts, writing, science, and art in the school habitat. Also included in the workshop is how to create wildflower, prairie, rain, and butterfly/hummingbird gardens for children’s learning experiences. Student field trip programs and summer camps have included topics such as birding with high quality binoculars, dip netting for aquatic invertebrates, tours of habitat gardens and wetlands, water shed model interactive demonstrations, fishing, insect programs, and more.

School Habitat Demonstration Lab 
Related links
 REAL School Gardens REAL School Gardens
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The Environmental Institute of Houston gratefully acknowledges the following foundations and corporations for their generous support of the School Habitats program.

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