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Schoolyard Habitat Program Comes to King Beach

TitleSchoolyard Habitat Program Comes to King Beach
Author/CreatorCobourn, John; Purdy, Shelly; Segale, Heather M.
Related item(s)Press Release available at
Date Original2005-01-11
Summary/DescriptionLake Tahoe Report Segment #149 - "Schoolyard Habitat Program Comes to Kings Beach" (Air Date: Dec.23, 2005).
SubjectEnvironmental education -- Activity programs
Environmental education -- Tahoe, Lake, Region (Calif. and Nev.)
LocationLake Tahoe (Calif. and Nev.)
Tahoe, Lake (Calif and Nev)
CollectionThe Lake Tahoe Report
Original PublisherLake Tahoe Environmental Education Coalition (
Electronic PublisherUniversity of Nevada, Reno - Department of Teaching and Learning Technologies
Ordering and Permissions InformationFor more information, contact the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension, or 775-832-4138.
Date Digital2006-02-15
RelationWindows Media Player
Resource TypeMoving Image
Contributing InstitutionUniversity of Nevada, Reno
TranscriptionSegment 149 - Students, parents and volunteers have created habitat for birds and small animals in the schoolyard between Kings Beach Elementary School and the Boys and Girls Club next door. This educational project, like the one at Tahoe Lake School in Tahoe City, has earned Kings Beach Elementary approval as a Schoolyard Habitat site from the National Wildlife Federation. On May 17 and June 11, the Sierra Watershed Education Partnerships (SWEP) and numerous community volunteers staged work parties to prepare the soil in the planter boxes. Chris Cooper, maintenance supervisor for Tahoe Truckee Unified School District, used a backhoe to remove some of the rocks and mineral soil left over from construction. Rockwood Inc. donated use of a dump truck and crew to haul it to a safe storage site where wind and water could not erode it. Once there was room in the planter boxes, compost from Full Circle Compost in Minden was mixed with the remaining mineral soil. The organic matter in the compost amends the mineral soil, enriching it greatly, so fertilization of the plants was not necessary. On June 15, students from Kings Beach Elementary planted $1, 500 of native and adapted plants funded by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Services. The plants were purchased at a generous discount from Tahoe Tree Company, Perennial Nursery, and Villager Nursery. Native and adapted plants are well-suited to Tahoe's climate and soil conditions, needing little irrigation or fertilizer once they are established. Native plants are adapted plants that were already established in the Lake Tahoe area when European-American settlers arrived in the 1800s. The children are working to develop bilingual signs to place in the garden to help community members learn more about the value of native and adapted plants. Project MANA used one planter box to establish a vegetable garden with the North Tahoe Boys and Girls Club. Project MANA is a North Lake Tahoe nonprofit organization dedicated to providing food for needy families. Local Master Gardener volunteers of University of Nevada Cooperative Extension helped identify appropriate plants for a shade garden, a drought-tolerant garden and a butterfly garden. The native and adapted shrubs included thimbleberry, wild rose, snowberry, currant, wild strawberry, spiraea and serviceberry. The flowers included penstemon, phlox, Jacob's ladder, coneflower, and forget-me-not. Such plants require very little maintenance and provide wildlife habitat, including food and shelter. In addition, their roots spread and hold the soil in place, preventing erosion. Planting native and adapted plants to cover bare soil is an important best management practice (BMP) for protecting water quality in Lake Tahoe. A complete list of recommended native and adapted plants, approved by the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, is included in the "Home Landscaping Guide for Lake Tahoe and Vicinity, " published by University of Nevada Cooperative Extension. It is available through the Nevada Tahoe Conservation District in Nevada, (775) 586-1610, ext.28; and through the Tahoe Resource Conservation District in California, (530) 543-1501, ext. 6. The Sierra Watershed Education Partnerships and its partners, including Excellence in Education, Tahoe Resource Conservation District and the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, are eager to work with teachers and administrators to create this type of BMP demonstration project at other school sites. For more information, contact Jan Ellis at or (775) 831-2723.

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