Students achieve backyard wildlife habitat certification

Lake Erie Nature & Science Center Executive Director Catherine Timko cuts the ribbon on the Certified Wildlife Habitat project completed by After School Adventures Club participants.

A group of Northeast Ohio elementary school students have seen a year of hard work (and fun!) building a wildlife habitat at Lake Erie Nature & Science Center pay off with national certification. The 24 students who participate in the Center’s “After School Adventures Club” received approval from the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) designating their garden project in front of the Center as a Certified Wildlife Habitat.  

The recognition goes to individuals or groups who follow specific NWF guidelines for creating a garden area that provides food, water, cover and a place for wildlife to raise their young, in addition to incorporating sustainable gardening practices. Center Executive Director Catherine Timko cut the ribbon at a recent gathering to celebrate completion of the habitat, which the students enhanced by building a rock-rimmed water feature. 

The best part of the year-long experience for 4th grader Adam Goyetche of Westlake was, “all the hikes we did collecting items and observing where animals live.” Adam said the class has already observed a nest being built high in the trees in the newly certified habitat. 

Center Education Specialists Bev Walborn and Jennifer Lee said they are proud of what the students learned in the hands-on project. “The kids were involved in experiences that created a real awareness and a connection to the wildlife that share our backyards,” said Walborn. 

Lake Erie Nature & Science Center is a regional nonprofit resource featuring a wide variety of natural and space science educational offerings for all ages, a planetarium, more than 100 live animals on exhibit and wildlife rehabilitation. For more information, visit or call 440-871-2900.  Information about the National Wildlife Federation’s Backyard Habitat program can be found online at

Shawn Salamone is Community Relations Manager at Lake Erie Nature & Science Center.

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Volume 2, Issue 10, Posted 1:11 PM, 04.28.2010