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MarkFine Elementary

Las Vegas, NV, United States


Habitat Helpers

Planting Flowers in the Schoolyard Habitat

With support from the Habitat Heroes grant, we made significant improvements to our budding schoolyard habitat. In the past month, we planted about 30 plants native to the southwest, created bird watering stations, and acquired a bug hotel.

Luckily, the Nevada Department of Forestry was having a public plant sale when we were ready to begin our planting blitz. They specialize in growing plants native to our area, which is exactly what we were looking for. We also bought a few plants from a neighborhood nursery. Here’s the list:

Bicolor Penstemon -
Firecracker Penstemon -
Palmer’s Penstemon -
Parry’s Penstemon -
Desert Milkweed -
Perky Sue -
Blanket Flower -
Blue Flax -
Texas Sage -

My students worked in small groups. Each group was in charge of planting one plant. We looked for areas in the schoolyard habitat where the existing drip irrigation system is watering the trees. Being careful not to jab the irrigation system, students dug holes next to the drips and planted their flowers. For a few days, we filled up buckets with water and took them out to the habitat to give the new plants extra water. Most of our plants are still doing well, and we can’t wait to see how much they grow over the summer. By next spring, we should have our very own super bloom.

I love getting my students outside to have experiences that help them understand why our desert environment is special and worth taking care of. We make unexpected discoveries and just enjoy being outside. It’s such a stress relief. Next year we hope to collaborate with community members to make more improvements to the schoolyard habitat and help more classes participate in outdoor science activities.

What do students think?

What was it like to plant flowers in the schoolyard habitat?

Tayla, “Fun. I felt important when I did it.”

Do you think it matters that kids were able to plant flowers in the schoolyard habitat?

Sophia, “I think it matters so that kids get a good experience planting flowers in case some kids don’t get to at home.”

How do you think planting flowers in the schoolyard helps our school?

Kylee, “I think it helps our school. We put plants in and take out the weeds to make plants healthier.”

How did it make you feel to plant flowers in the schoolyard habitat?

Stephanie, “I liked it. It was my first time planting flowers.”

Kai, “It’s the only time I get to plant flowers. I don’t get to do it a lot, and it’s good for the birds.”

Ivan, “It was helpful and fun.”

Mikaela, “I felt excited. I never actually planted flowers before.”

These students are planting one of the penstemons.

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