Open House at Discovery Hill Learning Center

Blog Update: Due to what looks like the chances of a grand soaking over the next 24 hours or so, we are cancelling the Discovery Hill Open House tomorrow in Austin.

Save the Date - Discovery Hill Open House, September 21

Join us on September 21st at the new demonstration schoolyard habitat in Central Texas! National Wildlife Federation and Austin ISD invites the community to attend the free Open House at Discovery Hill Learning Center.

Tour this beautiful habitat and:

  • Learn about AISD’s curriculum and instructional goals for the habitat.
  • Learn first-hand how the habitat was built from conception to installation.
  • Learn about the ecological value of the habitat.
  • Experience the vast array of native plants and the wildlife that is already visiting the habitat.


WHAT: Discovery Hill Learning Center (aka Rocks to Roots) Open House

WHEN: Saturday, September 21, 2013, 9:00am – noon

WHERE: AISD Science and Health Resource Center (SHRC)
305 North Bluff Drive
Austin, TX 78745 [map]

RSVP Online

The morning will start with a short presentation from Austin ISD Chief Academic Officer, Dr. Pauline Dow, followed by an opportunity to tour the garden with designer, Judy Walther, from Environmental Survey Consulting. We hope you can join us!


Pleasant Hill Students Preparing to Name New Habitat

bluebonnetsStudents at Pleasant Hill Elementary in Austin, Texas are hard at work preparing for the ribbon cutting ceremony at the Rocks to Roots demonstration habitat on May 16th.

Their assignment is to create a poster that will be on permanent display at the habitat and come up with an official name for the habitat. There are 32 class entries in the poster and naming contest.

All 32 posters will be on display at the ribbon cutting ceremony and the winning class entry will be announced!

A sneak preview of a few of the possible names:

  • The Curious Garden
  • The Living Earth Classroom
  • Pleasant Hill Discovery Garden
  • Bugs, Brains and Blooms

If you haven’t already, RSVP now to join the Pleasant Hill students for a tour of the habitat, view the posters, and learn the official name for the habitat!

Plant a Tree for Wildlife

This week National Wildlife Federation is celebrating National Wildlife Week by honoring the trees that provide crucial benefits to wildlife. NWF issued a challenge to youth across the country to participate in local tree plantings.

“This year, National Wildlife Federation is celebrating the 75th Anniversary of National Wildlife Week  by calling all students — pre-school through college — to make a difference for wildlife by planting trees. I am challenging youth of all ages to make a commitment to help wildlife and our planet by organizing a service project at their school or in their community to plant trees.”

This Saturday in Austin, we are celebrating National Wildlife Week by hosting a volunteer day to plant shrubs and understory in the demonstration wildlife habitat.

Wildlife Need Trees and Understory

Did you know…
Trees clean the air: Trees absorb odors and pollutants and filter our air through their leaves and bark — our own built-in air purification system!
Trees provide oxygen: Over the course of a year one acre of trees provides enough oxygen for 18 people.
Trees save water AND help keep our water clean: Trees help to both reduce runoff and help to filter groundwater and the water in our streams. Shade from trees helps slow water evaporation so you don’t need to water your lawn as much.
Trees are critical for wildlife: Trees provide many different species with food, cover and places to raise young and for some species are even their water source. Whether it is in the canopy or trunk or roots wildlife can be found both in living, dying and dead trees helping to keep our ecosystems balanced.

We hope you will take up the challenge and join us this Saturday at 8:30 am for more planting at the demonstration habitat at AISD’s Science and Health Resource Center!

Can’t make it to the planting this Saturday? A generous contribution to the Rocks to Roots project will assist in completing the installation of this amazing habitat.


VIDEO: Schoolyard Habitats Matter

Check out this great video introduction to schoolyard habitats. The video shows kids excitedly exploring a lush habitat as butterflies flutter around. One little girl comments “When I saw that butterfly, I thought how nature really IS beautiful…” Watch to learn why Schoolyard Habitats, like the project here in Austin, are important to wildlife and children.

We can’t wait for Austin schoolchildren to experience the same thrill at the Rocks to Roots demonstration habitat!

The Schoolyard Habitats program was created in 1996 to meet the growing interest and distinct needs of schools and school districts in creating and restoring wildlife habitat on school grounds. These wildlife habitats become places where students not only learn about wildlife species and ecosystems, but also outdoor classrooms where they hone their academic skills and nurture their innate curiosity and creativity.

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