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King Students Restore Wildlife Habitat On School Grounds

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King Students Restore Wildlife Habitat On School Grounds
Posted on 10/05/2017
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Seventh graders at King Middle School partnered with Maine Audubon and the city of Portland’s horticulture staff this week to plant more than 60 native wildflowers, shrubs and trees along the Park Street entrance to the school ­– making the school grounds more environmentally friendly for a variety of birds.

The planting project was the culmination of a months-long expedition about Maine birds and their habitat needs last school year.

During the “Bringing Nature Home” expedition, each student was assigned a Maine bird to study its life cycle, behavior, food and reproduction. The students measured plots, learned to use graphic design software, and researched food webs. Each student submitted a new landscape design plan for the King school grounds aimed at managing specifically for their species of bird.

The resultant plans relied on native plants, the most important and threatened component of habitat in urban/suburban settings, and also included attributes such as rotting logs, bird feeders and benches for people. Ten finalist plans were submitted to city staff for review, selection and installation.

“We saw today that the ‘next generation’ of land stewards and conservationists has already been quite busy and productive,” said Maine Audubon education director Eric Topper.

“This is a great example of partnerships and projects kids like these can and should be participating in all over the city,” said Jeff Tarling, Portland’s arborist and horticulture manager.

Maine Audubon will continue to work with teachers and students at King to add interpretive signage, maintain and renew the planting, and study the insects and birds they attract.