Community Partnerships Create National Wildlife Federation Schoolyard Habitat in Harwich

Harwich Elementary will be a welcoming place for birds and other wildlife...
Harwich Elementary students work on their outside habitat for wildlife. (Courtesy photo)

Thanks to collaborative partnerships with local businesses and organizations, the garden courtyard at Harwich Elementary School will now be a welcoming place for area birds and other wildlife.

Fourth-grade students recently participated in a project to build, paint, and install a dozen birdhouses in the school’s courtyard garden. Volunteers from Polhemus, Savery, DaSilva builders donated their time to help the students build and paint the birdhouses, and then worked with students to place and install the birdhouses in the courtyard garden area. The birdhouse materials were part of a grant from The Garden Club of Harwich to recertify the Harwich Elementary School garden as a National Wildlife Federation Schoolyard Habitat.

Students from Mrs. Branchut’s fourth-grade class researched native birds and their habitats, and The Garden Club of Harwich shared their expertise on the types of birdhouses to attract specific species. Chickadees and goldfinches were identified, and houses were designed to suit them. The students also wrote creative essays and illustrated their designs for bird houses, which are on display in the school.

Working with volunteers from Polhemus Savery DaSilva and using wood donated by Shepley Wood Products, the students built the birdhouses and painted the roofs in colors that will attract the birds. Then, a team from PSD helped the students install posts and shepherd hooks to hold the birdhouses.

This project is the latest in the ongoing development of the HES garden courtyard. In recent years, students and community volunteers have cleaned out the courtyard and created raised beds, thanks to donations from O’Leary Landscaping and Shepley Wood Products. The Harwich Garden Club has also supported the work with grant funding, both last year and this year, and the Harwich PTO donated tables so that classes can meet in the courtyard.

The team at HES will next add donated bird feeders and bird baths to create a welcoming environment for birds, along with milkweed plants to attract Monarch butterflies.


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