Teaching the importance of protecting native flora and fauna
Bound by Beauty (BbB) launched Natives for Neighbors to teach students about the important role of native flora and fauna in the unique ecosystems of South Florida, and to help them understand both the negative and positive impacts humans can have on these communities. In studying the problems humans cause through habitat destruction and pesticide use, students can identify concrete actions to help solve them.
This was a collaborative effort with middle and high school teachers Monica Gross and Frank Mataska and their students at Doctors Charter School (DCS), BbB's Network of Neighborhood Nurturies, TreeHuggers LLC, as well as other members of the community.
Thanks to Natives for Neighbors, 7th grade DCS students planted over 60 native trees, shrubs, and wildflowers, including 10 donated to the school by Fairchild's Connect to Protect Network, providing habitat for butterflies, bees, and other insects that are essential for the survival of the natural world, including our own survival as humans.
Native trees, shrubs, and wildflowers were donated by members of BbB's nurturies, or purchased from area nurseries. Students identified a location in their yards or communities, chose a plant that would thrive in those conditions, and learned practical skills such as how to plant and nurture native plants.
After transplanting the plants in their own gardens, students continued to nurture and observe them, while studying the relationships that these plants have with their living and nonliving environment, and how they form viable solutions to human-caused environmental problems. According to a follow-up survey nearly half of the students reported seeing an increase in the amount of wildlife such as birds, butterflies, and other insects in their gardens from one plant alone!
Imagine what can be achieved if more area schools joined in the effort to make more and more native plants thrive in our communities.
By increasing the number of locally-grown trees and shrubs that sequester carbon, cool our community, filter our groundwater, and protect our food supply by providing habitat for pollinators and other essential wildlife, students played a direct role in making our community more beautiful, resilient, and sustainable.
We are happy to collaborate with any teacher or group in an area school that is willing to lead this effort.