Backyard Workdays

  • Location
    Bridgewater, New Jersey
  • Status
  • Age Level
    Any Age

The Problem

Suburban sprawl is a serious environmental problem affecting not only our community, but communities throughout New Jersey. Our goal is to continue to create habitats for wildlife by reforesting our schoolyard and creating more pollinator gardens. We want to create habitats for native wildlife, including native bees and other pollinators. In addition we want to research and learn about forests native to Central New Jersey, so that we can teach our classmates and community through school sponsored events.

Our Plan

There will be six backyard workdays throughout the school year - three in the fall and three in the spring. The work events will take place on Fridays after school and Saturday mornings. At each event we will work with our teachers and families to continue to enhance Hillside’s Meadows & Trails by planting trees and creating additional pollinator gardens. We will also maintain the existing habitats by adding wood chips to our trails, cutting back weeds, organizing the tool shed, picking up litter, and maintaining the butterfly garden.

Themes Addressed

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    Biodiversity Loss
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    Community Enhancement
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    Migratory species
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The Benefit

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Here is how the project went:

We held three backyard workdays in the fall and they were a total success. Our project started within our own classrooms. In our 6th grade curriculum, it is required to go outside and research a spot, called adopt-a-spot. With this opportunity, we were able to make recommendations for habitat enhancement, from which were able to make Backyard Workday task lists. Between the three fall workdays we had more than 200 participants - students, siblings, parents, teachers, and even Hillside alumni. We were successfully able to plant trees, maintain the habitats we have, clean up litter and other debris, and mitigate a serious runoff problem affecting the trails. Unfortunately, because of COVID-19, we were not able to have the three spring workdays. We are hoping we can get back to the habitat on a rotation basis - one family at a time - to help take care of the area over the summer.

Through this project I/we learned:

We learned that so much can be accomplished for animals and the environment, when we work together with a common goal.

What I/we might change:

We would like to have recruited more volunteers at our Friday afternoon workdays.

My/our favorite part of this project was:

Our favorite part was working together to make Hillside's Meadows & Trails a more hospitable environment for wildlife. We also loved exploring the nooks and crannies of the existing forest, finding so many critters that call Hillside home.

Some tips, tricks or fun facts about the project:

Teamwork makes plans become realities. We can make a difference.

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