Nature Walk Montessori School
Featured Site Created By Nature Walk Montessori School
Exposure to nature during the school day, with something as minimal as window to the outside, has been documented to strengthen the resilience of students and positively impact performance in the classroom. Imagine then, the potential positive benefits reaped from attending a school where the natural world is at the forefront of the curriculum. Sprawling gardens, recreated native prairies, bird feeding stations and orchards all make this school aesthetic, habitat rich, and teeming with native wildlife. Learn about this school’s experience and be inspired by the images of children exploring the natural world, at school.
What work has been done to improve this site for birds and other wildlife? How long did it take?
Since the school opened, in August 2015, we’ve made improvements to favor wildlife. Some of these are: the installation of a prairie garden composed of native species, a rain garden of native species for runoff water management, a butterfly garden, and a vegetable garden along with the installation and management of a birdhouse, bird feeders, and the care of our fruit trees and berry plants. These projects are ongoing and form part of our school curriculum.
What are some successes that you've seen since the improvements were made? (alternatively, "What are you most proud of, or excited to share about this site?")
Many birds come to our feeders. Preschool and kindergarten students refill these feeders weekly and have learned to recognize the different species. They have an observation area inside of their classroom where they can use binoculars to study the birds that come to feed.
Favorite Bird Sightings:
Cardinals are the children’s favorite. We’ve also seen Black-capped Chickadees, American Robins, nuthatches, Blue Jays, Red-bellied and Downy Woodpeckers, Northern Flickers, Cedar Waxwings, sparrows, Red-tailed Hawks, Red-winged Blackbirds, Crows, and Baltimore Orioles. Eastern Bluebirds nested in our bird house this summer.
Are there any tough decisions that had to be made regarding its management? How were they handled?
As part of the site developments some trees had to be cut down. The site was re-designed from the original plan to avoid cutting any large specimens. Twelve oak trees (swamp and red) were planted to mitigate the effect of the lost trees.
Logs and stumps of the downed trees were kept as part of our playscape.