Creating Habitats for Learning
Condensed by Native Village
Colorado: In 2005, students at
Southern Ute Indian Academy created
a "Certified Wildlife Habitat"
endorsed by the National Wildlife
Federation. Every day, students
gather to study the plants and animals
found on the reservation.
children really seem to enjoy
learning when they’re out here,”
says Linda Daniels, the school’s
Certified Wildlife Habitat program
encourages teachers and students to develop havens for
wildlife on their school grounds.
The grounds are also become outdoor classrooms
wide range of subjectst.
Academy, a K-6 school, was the first tribal
school in the country to receive NWF
certification for its on-campus
habitat. Since then, 9 other
tribal schools in New Mexico, Arizona and South
Dakota have joined nearly 3,500 U.S.
schools with NWF certification.
Other tribal schools are now
creating their own gardens.
“Teaching Native American students
about their culture is an extra
component of tribal schoolyard
habitats,” said Alexis Bonogofsky
Tribal Lands Conservation Program.
“It’s also a way to increase their
interest in science and natural
resources, and hopefully start some
of the students down the road to a
career in one of these fields.”
“It gives us all kinds of
reasons to get them outside,” says
teacher Bill Foxx from Blackwater Community School on
the Gila River Indian Reservation. His students
have built birdhouses and are
caring for two “adopted” desert
tortoises. The tortoises were rescued by state
authorities and placed at the
Daniels sai getting children outside
was another reason for their habitat
project. They began by building a
pond -- a “huge volunteer effort, with many
parents and older kids helping,”
Daniels said. The tribe's wildlife
and maintenance departments helped,
too. They also built a drip irrigation system.
Near the pond is a butterfly,
bee and hummingbird garden, along
with Native plants transplanted
from other parts of the reservation.
include sage, snowberry, buffalo
berry, currant and chokecherry.
Biology and botany are taught in the
garden along with lessons in
writing, art, poetry, music and
“We’ve integrated the wildlife
habitat into much of our
curriculum,” Daniels said.
"The habitat really helps us
reconnect the students not only to
nature, but also to their heritage. It’s very rewarding.”
Learn more about the NWF school
Tribal Lands Conservation Program
Village Home Page
Backgrounds: Robert Kaufman Fabrics:
Eyes: National Geographic
NATIVE VILLAGE website was created for youth,
educators, families, and friends who wish to celebrate the rich,
diverse cultures of The Americas' First Peoples. We offer
readers two monthly publications: NATIVE VILLAGE Youth and
Education News and NATIVE VILLAGE Opportunities and Websites.
Each issue shares today's happenings in Indian country.
Native Village is responsible for format changes.
also include additional photos, art, and graphics which enhance
the visual appeal and and adds new dimensions to the articles.
Each is free or credited by right-clicking the picture, a page posting, or appears with the original article.
Our hopes are to make the news as
informative, educational, enjoyable as possible.
NATIVE VILLAGE also houses website libraries and learning
circles to enrich all lives on Turtle Island.
Please visit, and sign up for our update:
NativeVillage500@aol.com. We are
always glad to make new friends!