Native Plants at School - a Garden Landscape Project

"In a study of backyard plants, the natives supported 35 times more butterflies and moths than invasive plants. Birds, particularly nestlings, depend on insects for much of their food supply, so areas dominated by non-natives and invasives provide much less food for our feathered friends." PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

The Challenge:

The construction project at your school is nearing completion. Your class has been selected to make an important final contribution. You are to design the landscaping. It is to serve as an outdoor laboratory for natural science classes. You are to utilize native plants, as well as, those that are significant to your community or state. The school's property lies within the watershed of your community. It is important that the plantings can survive in the USDA Planting Hardiness Zone in which your school is located. Your budget is $10,000.

Which plants, bushes, and trees do you recommend be used in the project?
What purpose does each one serve? Where should they be placed in the landscape around the building and property?

Step 1 -

Identify what you know about native plants and habitat gardens.

Step 2 -

Identify what you need to learn.

Be specific. Make a list.
Be sure to connect the plantings to your school's curriculum.

Get digging for information - Learn how to research elementary | middle school & high school

Working in a group? Assign the group member who is to find each answer or fact.
Everyone will be researching info.
(how to work as a group)

Tech Tip: Working in a group or in two different places like the library & home? You do not have to be physically together to work together. gold starWatch Google Docs video TAI - How could you use free, Google Docs to do a project? How would this facilitate group projects?

Step 3 -

As a group - Discuss your findings.
Decide on a plantings list.

Step 4 -

Create a project/report/multimedia presentation to explain your choices and support their selection.

Develop a planting list that includes common and scientific names of plants

Calculate the cost of all the plants, bushes, trees in the design.

Proof the project. It is funny how speling errors and typeos sneak in to the bets work. smiling icon


Create a plot plan for the landscaping. Use the outline of a local school or invent one. Be sure to consider the energy savings that can come from strategic landscaping.

Monarch Butterflies are now listed as an endangered species. They are endangered, in part, due to a loss of habitat and milkweed plants. Take a look at your school yard, a local park and your home yard. Where could you plant native milkweed, asters and goldenrod to aid the monarchs in surviving?


Rubric template - teacher resource

Online Resources: I have collected a set of valuable Internet sites for researching native plants. You may also use print resources and video based info.

ladybeetle Native Plants for Wildlife Habitat and Conservation Landscaping

ladybeetle BayScapes

ladybeetle Gardening for Wildlife

ladybeetleNative Plants of North America

ladybeetle PlantNative

ladybeetle Plant Conservation Alliance

ladybeetle Draw Birds and Butterflies to Your Yard

ladybeetle Hummingbirds

ladybeetle Plants and People

ladybeetle An Invitation to a Healthy Schoolyard

ladybeetle Hands on the Land

ladybeetle Bluebird Project

ladybeetle Pennsylvania Media & Wildlife Education Resources

ladybeetle Windbreaks and Wildlife

ladybeetle The North American Pollinator Partnership

ladybeetle Components of a habitat

ladybeetle Landscaping for Energy Conservation

ladybeetle Soil Health

ladybeetle NRCS - Wildlife Habitat

ladybeetle Invasive plants

ladybeetle Landscaping for Wildlife: Trees, Shrubs and Vines

ladybeetle Landscapes, Ornamentals, and Houseplants resources

ladybeetle Wildlife Habitat

ladybeetle NRE - Pennsylvania Wildlife Publications

ladybeetleBe wary of introduing invasive or noxious plants.

ladybeetle Attracting Wildlife

ladybeetle Why Use Native Plants?

ladybeetle Difference between native, non native plants and invasive plants

ladybeetle Water and Watershed Studies

ladybeetle How to create a habitat garden

"Behold the turtle for he does not move forward without sticking out his neck." PBL site

hummingbird drifting down a line of blossoms spping daintilly

Problem based Learning / Internet Hunts / Nature / Computers / Pennsylvania Projects / Puzzles & Projects / Map tree inventory / Home

developed by Cynthia J. O'Hora Posted 7/2006 / updated 8/2022
released to the public domain.
A Problem based Learning Project

Aligned with Pennsylvania Academic Standards Explain how human activities may affect local, regional, and global environments.