Flat Rock Food Forest certified as a wildlife habitat


Wildlife has a home at Flat Rock Middle. STEAM Careers students learned about habitats and designed a pollinator habitat for butterflies at the Flat Rock Food Forest that was certified as a Schoolyard Wildlife Habitat by the National and GA Wildlife Federation.

Flat Rock joins over 5,000 schools nationwide that have transformed their schoolyards into thriving wildlife habitats that provide essential elements needed by all wildlife – natural food sources, clean water, cover and places to raise young. The habitat also serves as an outdoor education site where students can engage in cross-curricular learning in a hands-on way.

During their exploration, students had to identify the habitat elements used by a specific animal, match habitat descriptions with animals, describe a specific habitat in a creative way, explore the diversity of animals and habitats in the U.S. They researched, designed, planned, and installed a habitat for their chosen animal and created educational signs for the habitat, as well.

“Butterflies have lost so much of their native habitat in Fayette County due to human-caused habitat destruction. I wanted our Flat Rock students to see that they could make a difference by planting a simple garden that provides a habitat,” said Flat Rock STEAM Careers instructor Sarah Thompson. “Our garden contains the elements of a habitat: Native plant species to provide cover, shelter, and a place to raise young, and a water source make our school grounds a safe place for butterflies.”

NWF’s Garden for Wildlife program encourages responsible gardening that helps pollinators and other wildlife thrive. It encourages planting with native species like milkweed and discouraging chemical pesticide use. With nearly 200,000 locations and growing, NWF’s Certified Wildlife Habitats and Community Wildlife Habitats recognize individuals, schools, groups, and whole communities committed to providing habitat for wildlife, including pollinators. Certification also makes the Flat Rock Food Forest part of the Million Pollinator Garden Challenge, a national effort to restore critical habitat for pollinators.

National Wildlife Federation is America’s largest conservation organization, inspiring Americans to protect wildlife for our children’s future.

— Provided by the Fayette County School System.