POND Trade July/August 2013

Page 44

Giving Back

Schoolyard Habitats

Backyard Getaway brings the joy of ponding to students by Lisa Burns, Backyard Getaway


hen my husband/business partner Dave and I opened our business, we decided that we wanted to give back to the community. We offered the usual fundraising pond tours like many other pond businesses offer, but the most rewarding program is our school habitat program. Creating schoolyard habitats is not a new concept, but in case you are not familiar with it, the school habitat program offers an outside-the-box learning experience for students. It is a unique tool integrating math, science and life skills curricula into a hands-on project. Students learn how math relates to a pond through measuring and basic math


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skills. They learn science as it relates to water flow, evaporation and plants. Each project is a complete habitat with a water feature and native wildlife garden. Once completed, the project becomes a permanent outdoor classroom for future generations to learn from and add to. We have been teaching these classes at local schools for several years and every time I am in awe of the young people we work with. Getting started For our first school project we chose Manatee Glens ARC (Adolescent Recovery Center), a live-in facility for teenagers with substance abuse and mental health problems, to be the recipient. We approached the facility manager with the idea and she loved it. Of course, none of us were sure how the students would react. At first they were standoffish. Some of the girls


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