In this issue:  Learn why you shouldn't put your garden to bed, and see the newest featured site. 
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The Dirt: News from YardMap
Joining together to break new ground for birds
Mid Fall 2014

School Gardens
School gardens are becoming popular as a teaching tool. Photo by Peter Liu via Flickr

School Gardens Are
Learning Laboratories

School gardens are taking root throughout the United States. Many cities, such as New York and Chicago, have programs devoted to helping schools plan, fundraise, and construct gardens in their school yards. California and Arizona even have a collective network to guide public schools interested in starting a project. Momentum is building as educators and parents recognize the wealth of learning that can be gained by engaging students in school garden projects.

Curricula pertinent to all subject areas are also available in many places online, such as Bird Sleuth and Edible School Yard, to guide learning in these living laboratories. Schools are more and more convinced of the multiple benefits to embracing the school garden movement.  

Research has documented that time spent outside increases attention, and ultimately learning, leading many schools to prioritize opportunities for their students to connect to the natural world. Whatever the motivation, whether driving down obesity rates by giving kids direct access to fresh vegetables, or providing opportunities to teach students about native plants, birds, and other wildlife, schools are starting to see gardens as an essential component to education.

Still not convinced? Watch this video on the the amazing interdisciplinary work one school is doing in California to bring gardens into their curriculum.
Kids Explore Gardens
Photo by Seattle Municipal Archive via Flickr

NEW Resource on School Gardens

We just launched our new webpage on school gardens. Explore our site to learn more about how schools can transform outside spaces into inviting wildlife habitat, while providing for powerful learning.
Photo by Mike Wisnicki

Citizen Science October Blog

"They’re stealthy. They’re quick. They have far too many legs. They’re spiders, and they’ve been vilified for centuries. They’re not all bad, though. Spiders perform a great many ecosystem services, from agricultural pest control to disease prevention. They’re especially beneficial to native birds. Here are some key reasons a true bird lover should leave that spider alone." To Learn More.

New Featured Site:
Guemes Island, Skagit, WA

After two years of hard work, the gardens have been restored and more native plants have been added. Photo by Sally Peyou.

Our homes are truly what we make them. They are a reflection of our hard work, ethics, and values. Sally Peyou's property in Skagit, Washington, demonstrates her willingness to work hard in the face of a seemingly impossible task. Her perseverance paid off by transforming her entire yard back into native gardens and eliminating non-native lawn. It has only been a little more than two years since she purchased this property, but she has worked tirelessly to clean-up the poorly maintained gardens that were overrun with non-natives. Since beginning this work, native wildlife have returned to her property. To learn more about Sally's site visit her YardMap.
Becca Rodomsky-Bish with her dog, Sable Mae.

Meet YardMap's
New Project Assistant

YardMap welcomed Becca Rodomsky-Bish as the new project assistant in September. Becca has 15 years of experience as a science educator in both formal and informal learning environments. She has worked as a naturalist educator in Northern and Southern California, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and New York acquainting her with a broad range of ecosystems. She holds an M.S. in Environmental Studies from Antioch University, New England in New Hampshire. Becca has a passion for organic gardening and has been growing food for her family for seven years and running a CSA in her community for three years. She looks forward to working with the YardMap community on innovative ways to use our gardens and homes to build healthier relationships with the natural world.


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