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Story Submission

Submitted By

Karen Mihalow

Hamilton Township, NJ, United States


Habitat Helpers

Award Winning Entry: BirdSleuth Garden Grant Winner

Habitat and Garden Pro’s

We were very thankful and fortunate to receive a generous grant from BirdSleuth at Cornell University. We have a wonderful time learning about the our native habitat through the lessons that were provided through our grant. The students that participated were our entire 3rd grade class, which included 65 students and their teachers. The students enjoyed participating in the interactive and hands-on lessons in the classroom and ultimately enjoyed the final project of creating their own habitat and being apart of the planning and planting of the plants and flowers that they choose based upon their research. The students created a garden in the design of a sun centered around a totem pole on our school grounds that was created last year by the students. They choose to plant holly bushes, butterfly bushes and honeysuckle because they researched that these bushes attract butterflies and hummingbirds. Also, they choose flowers such as cone flowers, zinnias, marigolds, and impatients to plant in raised beds around the totem pole in groups to attract birds and butterflies. They students had the best time planting and when asked if they enjoyed creating the garden, every student said an enthusiastic YES! Some comments that were heard by the students included, Karla stating, "I love planting, it's very peaceful. Also, a student Jaquaye said, "When I water the flowers, I know to water at a 90 degree angle and aim for the roots." Each student participated and had different jobs such as watering, planting, raking the dirt that all took ownership of their garden. In fact, many students stated they wanted to come in the summer to water and take care of the garden. All the students said that they were looking forward to adding to it next year when they will all be in 4th grade. We are all very grateful for this wonderful learning opportunity and will continue to grow our beautiful garden and habitat.

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