Welcoming Fall to Your Schoolyard Habitat

from Wildlife Promise

Students at PS 146 - the New School in Brookly, NY explore pollinators in their Schoolyard Habitat. Photo courtesy PS 146.

Students at PS 146—the New School in Brooklyn, NewYork—explore pollinators in their Schoolyard Habitat. Photo courtesy PS 146.

Fall is a great time to welcome students back to school, get them outside and exploring their Schoolyard Habitats. Fall is also a great time to make sure that your Schoolyard Habitat has a wide assortment of native plants to provide many of our migratory wildlife species, particularly pollinators, with the food, water and shelter they need to make their long journey south.

Many migratory pollinators actually time their migration to match the flowering and fruiting of various food plants. These migration corridors are often called “flower highways” and provide food to fuel these long migration flights.

Students at PS 146 have created a bug hotel to help provide shelter for pollinators and other insects or "bugs" at their schoolyard habitat. Photo courtesy PS 146.

Students at PS 146 have created a bug hotel to help provide shelter for pollinators and other insects at their schoolyard habitat. Photo courtesy PS 146.

Not only are these species, such as the Monarch Butterfly and the rufous hummingbird benefiting from these plants, but we are too! Many of our food sources would not grow without the help of these important pollinators.

Many of the plants that bloom in the fall are well adapted to provide our late-season pollinators with plenty of food, with clusters of hundreds of small flowers each with its own cup full of nectar. Plants such as New England Asters, Sedums and Swamp Milkweed are just a few examples of fall plants for your schoolyard habitat. Of course you will want your students to research what pollinators are in your area and what native plants would be best for your Schoolyard habitat.

Schools in New York City such as PS 146 – the Brooklyn New School, and PS 41 – the Greenwich Village School, are working hard to provide habitat for local pollinators and other wildlife species. Everything from large sedum plantings on a rooftop garden, bug hotels and providing milkweed for monarchs, these schools are helping to support wildlife as they prepare to migrate south or get ready for winter. As well students are learning the importance of our pollinators and the role they play in our own food sources and survival.

Learn more about NWF’s Schoolyard Habitat program and how you can get involved.