The GISD Schoolyard Habitat was established at Pioneer Elementary School at a groundbreaking ceremony in November 2006. After the groundbreaking, work began on the habitat site. We started fund raising by selling Celebration of Life Bricks to line the paths for the site. We also sent fundraising letters for support to many community members. The response was overwhelming and we were ready to begin building the GISD Schoolyard Habitat.
Our first addition to the habitat was a large pond. Johnny Appleseed put in our pond in February 2007. Next came the paths to get us from the school to the pond. We had a school work day and everyone helped lay the bricks and put in the crushed granite for the paths.
In the spring we put in our butterfly garden and began planting all the plants we could find to attract the butterflies.
Every kindergarten class hatched butterfly larva and released the butterflies into our habitat as they studied the life cycle of the butterfly. We also watched a monarch lay eggs in our garden and we were able to see the eggs hatch and observe the caterpillars eating away at the milkweed plants.
We put in our hummingbird garden and put in feeders along with hummingbird plants in the garden.
We officially became a National Schoolyard Habitat in April 2007. We had our dedication ceremony on May 3, 2007.
Work didn’t stop with the dedication, we started a labyrinth at the end of the school year and finished it during the summer of 2007. When school began in August it was finished and the new classes at Pioneer planted between the walking paths.
We secured a grant from Lowe’s in September 2007, and we built a storage shed on December 7th.
We had a work day on January 4th, 2008 and put in a new path to the labyrinth and painted the storage shed.
On January 19th, 2008, Matthew Renfro added his Eagle Scout Project to our Habitat. He worked for 12 months to build bat houses and an information board.
In the summer of 2008 we added a new stream and garden to our habitat. This was made possible by a special friend of Pioneer who choose our habitat to recieve a donation to build this new feature for our students. It is really awesome!
We also added a rock sign to mark the entrance of our Habitat. A friend also provided the lettering for this sign. It is good to have friends who want to see our habitat grow and provide outdoor learning experiences for our students.
Our habitat is an on-going project so check back often to see what's going on in our outdoor classroom.