Schoolyard Wildlife Program chosen as education ‘success story’ for Obama’s environmental team

Posted March 10, 2009

Linda Jones

Linda Jones


March 10, 2009



Posted March 10, 2009

Linda Jones

Linda Jones

A UF-produced program that shows educators how to use school grounds as effective outdoor science learning laboratories has been selected as a model success story in a national report requested by President Obama’s environmental transition team. 

The “Schoolyard Wildlife Program” created by UF science education professor Linda Cronin Jones, was one of three model environmental education programs identified by the state of Florida.  The statewide program, administered by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, targets elementary and middle school students.

“The activities in the Schoolyard Wildlife Program replicate actual scientific field research techniques and allow students to investigate basic ecological principles, while also promoting positive environmental attitudes and fostering environmental stewardship,” Jones said. “All lessons include an outdoor component and provide students with numerous opportunities for up-close interactions with schoolyard plants and wildlife.”

Teachers become certified as Schoolyard Wildlife educators after completing a free, hands-on, interactive workshop led by a trained facilitator.


Elementary students search for habitat alongside Tumblin’ Creek at UF’s P.K. Yonge lab school as part of the novel Schoolyard Wildlife program.

Workshop participants receive the 35-lesson “Schoolyard Wildlife Activity Guide” and an accompanying field guide “The Handbook to Common Florida Schoolyard Plants and Animals.”  After attending additional workshops, educators can also receive the “Florida Water Resource Activity Pack” and “Schoolyard Ecosystems for Florida,” a schoolyard habitat design-and-restoration manual.

In a statewide study conducted last year for the Fish and Wildlife Commission, Jones determined that even limited participation in outdoor schoolyard learning activities leads to measurable improvements in standards-based science content knowledge, environmental attitudes, and pro-environmental behavior—regardless of students’ gender, race, or ethnic background.

Educators interested in attending a workshop or learning more about the Schoolyard Wildlife Program can visit the Schoolyard Program website or contact Lori Haynes (K-12 programs coordinator) toll-free at 877-450-WILD, or Beverly Eikeland (staff assistant) at 850-488-4679.

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     SOURCE: Linda Cronin Jones, Associate Professor, Science Education,

     WRITER: Larry Lansford, UF COE News & Communications,