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05-06-24 Symbiotic Schoolyard: Learning Ecosystem Restoration

Guest Janneke Peterson, Founder of Symbiotic Schoolyard

As a middle school science teacher, Janneke Peterson sought to involve her students in place-based, real-world projects, but there was a problem. She was unable to find a high-quality place-based ecosystem unit that provided all the materials and met the high expectations of Next Generation Science Standards. This prompted her to establish the Symbiotic Schoolyard, develop the Schoolyard Habitat Restoration Unit, and package it for use by other science teachers.

Janneke PatersonJanneke now supports science teachers in planting pollinator gardens, or other kinds of native planting projects, in their schoolyard as a part of a high-quality, 8-week ecosystem curriculum. The curriculum guides students in taking on the role of restoration ecologists to answer a driving question: How can we increase the biodiversity of our schoolyard? Through hands-on lessons both in the classroom and the schoolyard, students figure out that native plant communities form the foundation of complex food webs. They come up with a plan for planting native plants in an area of their schoolyard that has low or no biodiversity, such as grass turf, pavement, or an area covered by invasive species. Then they implement the planting project in partnership with a community partner.


Visit the Symbiotic Schoolyard website –

Purchase the Symbiotic Schoolyard curriculum –

Learn more about plants native to your state – Native Plant Societies – American Horticultural Society

Learn more at , email or call 401 529-6830. Connect with Wendy to order copies of FiddlesticksThe Angel Heart or Storywalker Wild Plant Magic Cards.

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