It all started in April 2014, when at my new school, I discovered hummingbirds visiting the succulent blooming in the school courtyard. I received permission from my principal to hang a hummingbird feeder in a fenced (5'x20') yard that was not being utilized. I shared a photo with a Facebook group (concerned about wildlife) and was shocked to receive a $60 donation from one individual to be used towards further 'improvements'. In September 2014, further improvements were made with the existing birdhouses being cleaned out, a ground level 'birdbath' installed (and connected to the irrigation system providing a continual supply of water), bird feeders with sunflower seeds, and small plants. As I shared a photo of our current "birdyard", another generous person donated the fee for the school to become a "Certified Wildlife Habitat" through the National Wildlife Foundation.
What has amazed the teachers is the reactions from the students. The classes all enjoy walking past the 'bird yard' and do so quietly, watching to see if there are any critters in evidence. The most amazing story is of an autistic kindergartner, who never talked, walking up to the fence and announcing 'Those are hummingbirds, we have those at home.'
Sunrise Elementary has recently started afterschool tutoring and enrichment classes and with the delight the students currently express with the bird yard, the staff would like to continue and expand our schoolyard habitats while teaching the students to appreciate, understand, and care for the environment around them.