National Wildlife Week: Seattle’s Villa Academy Raises a Flag for Eco-Schools

Off the shores of Lake Washington in Seattle, Villa Academy is working to create a wildlife oasis at their pre K-8 Independent Catholic school.  Their 30-acre school grounds have been enhanced by removing invasive species, planting natives, and restoring important lakeside habitat. Villa has partnered with EarthCorps to accomplish much of this work as well as to help educate students, families, and neighbors about habitat restoration. The restoration work, along with energy use reduction and major upgrades to its recycling and composting program, earned Villa its Green Flag award with Eco-Schools USA.

eco-schools_usa2Last year, the school raised $170,000 to start a “Working Our Way to the Water” campaign for outdoor education and conservation. These funds are allocated toward several projects – a new large greenhouse; an improved Garden Education Center; a restored Villa Grotto for outdoor learning, prayer, and reflection; continued restoration work around the school grounds and down to the lake; and consulting work led by an external agency about outdoor education spaces.

Related: Environmental Education = Fun

This year’s eighth grade students are also raising Coho salmon in the classroom. They’ve been educating the rest of the school about the importance of this Pacific Northwest keystone species and will make further improvements to the lakeside habitat in anticipation of a joint eighth grade and kindergarten “buddies” salmon release later this spring.

Want to make a difference for your local environmental education? Learn how to become a part of the Eco-Schools USA program.

Seattle was recently named one of the Top 10 Cities for Wildlife as part of the National Wildlife Week 2015 Celebration. Did your city make the grade?