Schoolyard Habitat

A Haven for Lower and Middle School in Friendswood

"We broke ground in the fall of 1998 on the FISD Nature Center and had an official opening in the spring of 1999.  We planted lots of native trees and shrubs, so the habitat was particularly attractive to birds.   Next to the school was an herb garden that always had lots of caterpillars and insects.  There was a small storage shed for tools, and right next to that shed were two large wooden tables that were on a concrete pad so microscopes could be set up and other activities that required tables.  Next to the building were citrus and fig tree plantings that attracted butterflies and birds.

 The nature center was used for about 15 years before the pond was filled in to create a picnic area.  Maintenance became a problem after invasive plants were allowed to gain a foothold.   School habitat gardens thrive when there is a  committed team (administration, teachers, staff, parents, students) who volunteer to maintain the garden year-round.  Try to include someone on the team who has knowledge and experience with native plants and habitat gardening.”--Doris Heard

If You Build It, Birds Will Come

Nature Center Bird List

(List begun May 1999)

White Ibis

Snowy Egret

Great Egret

Yellow-crowned Night-Heron

Little Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron

Green-backed Heron

Ring-billed Gull

Laughing Gull


Red Shouldered Hawk

Red-tailed Hawk

Common Nighthawk*

Turkey Vulture

American Kestrel

Rock Dove

Mourning Dove*

White winged Dove

Inca Dove

Eurasian Collared-Dove*

Yellow-billed Cuckoo

Purple Martin*

Red bellied Woodpecker

Downy Woodpecker                                                            

American Robin


Baltimore Oriole

Yellow-rumped Warbler                                                       

Orange Crowned Warbler

Pine Warbler                                                                     

Yellow Warbler

Eastern Phoebe

Bells Vireo

Ruby-crowned Kinglet

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Belted Kingfisher

Blue Jay

Northern Mockingbird*

Cedar Waxwing

Loggerhead Shrike*

Common Grackle

Great-tailed Grackle*

Eastern Starling*

American Crow

Carolina Chickadee

Carolina Wren*

Bell’s Vireo

House Sparrow*

Pine Siskin

American Goldfinch

Red-winged Blackbird

Monk Parakeet

*Denotes the birds that have built nests in the center.

Garden bed shapes were designed by placing hoses. Curving pond and bed shapes provide a more natural look.

Water features are an important element of habitats and provide educational opportunities relating to water quality, pond life, dragonfly identification, and more.

Can you spot the White Ibis and Yellow-crowned Night-Heron? Tree stumps, a log, and large stones create an inviting habitat for wildlife. When the small willow tree grew larger, a Green Heron loved to stand on that log and watch for fish.