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Wildlife Habitat Resources

In addition to the web-based resources below, you can find more resources for wildlife habitats in the:

Outdoor Learning Resource Folder (Google Drive)

 

 

| General | Native Plants | Native & Invasive Plants | Wildlife | Learning |

General Resources

Want to know more about wildlife habitat and its benefits?

Looking for a guide to get started? The resources below can help!

 

 

National Wildlife Federation’s Garden for Wildlife website link

National Wildlife Federation’s Garden for Wildlife website includes information on the benefits of schoolyard habitats, why to plant natives, how to guide to create a garden, webinars, maintenance tips, and the Butterfly Heroes program.

The Schoolyard Habitat Project Guide PDF link.

The Schoolyard Habitat Project Guide was created by the US Fish and Wildlife Service and walks through the entire process of planning, implementing, and using your schoolyard habitat.  Use this guide along with Get2Green’s steps for creating a wildlife habitat to organize your project.

Bringing Nature Home website link

Bringing Nature Home is Doug Tallamy’s site (and book) on native plants.  It includes information on why you should plant natives and on the mid-Atlantic native plants that support the greatest number of native moth and butterfly species.  Hint: Oak trees hold the record at 534!

Fairfax County Department of Public Works and Environmental Services website link

The Fairfax County Department of Public Works and Environmental Services webpage information about soil testing, stormwater, streams and watersheds, and caring for and maintaining trees.

Fairfax County Rain Gardens website link

The Fairfax County Rain Gardens webpage has additional resources for rain gardens and other low impact development projects.

The Low Impact Development Center  website link

The Low Impact Development Center offers rain garden design templates, plant lists, and maintenance and construction tips.

Audubon Society of Northern Virginia’s Audubon at Home website link

Audubon Society of Northern Virginia’s Audubon at Home site has resources and information on their wildlife sanctuary program, creating wildlife habitat, native plants, and more.

Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries’ Habitat for Wildlife website link

Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries’ Habitat for Wildlife website includes sections on wildlife habitat at schools and on improving habitat for wildlife.  Resources include the Schoolyard Habitat Program, plant lists, wildlife shelter needs, outdoor classroom resources, and more.

Virginia Tech Soil Testing Lab website link

Virginia Tech Soil Testing Lab will run soil samples on any soil you submit with a form and Soil Sample box.  There is a small fee ($10 as of autumn 2017) for this test.  Schools should use the form for home lawns and gardens.  Each sample must have its own form and box.  You can get a free Soil Sample kit from the Fairfax County VCE Office or at any Fairfax County Public Library.  Learn more about this program from the Soil and Water Conservation District.

 


Native Plant Search Tools

These websites let you set criteria to search for native plants.

 

 

Chesapeake Bay Native Plant Center website link

Chesapeake Bay Native Plant Center is a website created by the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay and the US Fish and Wildlife Service Chesapeake Bay Field Office.  The website includes the Native Plant Guide linked below and a database of native plants that you can filter based on region, plant type, sun exposure, soil texture, soil moisture, color, and fruit.

The Plant NOVA Natives Plant Search App website link.

The Plant NOVA Natives Plant Search App offers resources to help you select, purchase, and grow native plants.  They also have a plant guide and plant search app available on their website to help you find the right plants for your site.  You can filter your search in the plant search app by category, height, bloom time, moisture, amount of sunshine, wildlife, and soil type.

Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation’s Native Plant Finder website link

Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation’s Native Plant Finder allows you to search for plants native to Fairfax County.  You can search the plant finder by plant name, region, type, uses, light, moisture, max height, species, and plants for pollinators.  Please note, while the map on the main Plant Finder page shows Fairfax County being in the Coastal Plain region, only the southeastern portion of the county is in this region.  Most of the county is in the Piedmont region.  You can find a map of the Piedmont/Coastal Plain boundary here.

American Beauties website link

American Beauties has a variety of landscape plans and plant lists, as well as a plant search engine (native plant height, size, spread, hardiness, and preferences).


Native and Invasive Plants Info

Find more information about native and invasive plants in the resources below.

 

 

Plant NOVA Natives website link

Plant NOVA Natives promotes the use of native plants in Northern Virginia gardens.  If you want to know more about the importance of native plants, their site is a great place to learn more.  They offer resources to help you select, purchase, and grow native plants.  They also have a plant guide and plant search app available on their website to help you find the right plants for your site.

Earth Sangha website link.

Earth Sangha is a local native plant nursery.  They offer schoolyard garden plant kits and can help you figure out what plants will do best in your wildlife habitat.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Native Plants for Wildlife Habitat and Conservation Landscaping - Chesapeake Bay Watershed  website link

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Native Plants for Wildlife Habitat and Conservation Landscaping - Chesapeake Bay Watershed is a booklet that contains a wealth of information on native plant characteristics, conditions, habitat, attraction to wildlife, and more.  The Chesapeake Bay Native Plant Center website above is essentially a web-based searchable version of this booklet.

Wild Ones website link

Wild Ones has great info on native plants and native plant gardening.  They are partnered with Monarch Watch so they have lots of info on butterfly gardens.

Common Native Trees of Virginia website link

Common Native Trees of Virginia is a booklet developed by the Virginia Department of Forestry.  It contains a guide to identifying trees and a dichotomous key to help with identification of tree species.  There are also detailed profiles for 78 native Virginia trees and six common invasive trees.  These profiles include distribution within Virginia, size, shape, habitat, leaves, flowers, fruit, bark, twigs, values and uses, and a drawing of the tree and/or leaves.

Arbor Day Foundation’s What Tree Is That website link

Arbor Day Foundation’s What Tree Is That? app asks you to answer a series of questions to help you identify a tree.  The tool can also be downloaded as an iPhone app.

USDA Plants Database website link

USDA Plants Database has profiles of plants with images, taxonomy, distribution maps, and fact sheets (for some plants).  There is also a searchable image gallery, invasive plant info, state plant lists, and a plant identification key.

VA Department of Conservation and Recreation’s Natural Heritage website link

The VA Department of Conservation and Recreation’s Natural Heritage site has resources on the benefits of native plants, buying and growing native plants, and the flora of Virginia.  There is also an invasive plants section with an invasive plant list, factsheets, and tips for removing invasive species.  This site also features a Native Plant Finder.

Invasive Plants and their Native Plants Look-Alikes website link

Invasive Plants and their Native Plants Look-Alikes is a guide to distinguishing between 20 invasive plant species and native plant species that look very similar to them.


Wildlife

Learn more about the wildlife of Northern Virginia that you may find in your schoolyard habitat.

 

 

Island Creek Elementary School’s Study of Northern Virginia Ecology website link

Island Creek Elementary School’s Study of Northern Virginia Ecology website was curated by staff at Island Creek ES in Alexandria. It has profiles and photos of nearly 300 species of native plants and animals found in Northern Virginia.  It also has information on habitats and relationships between species, as well as a helpful glossary of terms related to ecology.

Discover Northern Virginia Nature: Prince William County Wildlife Guide website link.

Discover Northern Virginia Nature: Prince William County Wildlife Guide is hosted by the Prince William Conservation Alliance and contains photos and information for many species of wildlife native to Northern Virginia.

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s All About Birds website link

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s All About Birds website is among the best bird resources available.  The star feature of this website is the bird ID and profile section.  You can find information on a specific bird species or find birds that you want to identify.  The profile for each species contains information on the geographic range, physical appearance, behavior, habitat, and life history, along with some cool facts.  Each profile contains photos and audio recordings of the species, and some species profiles also include video.

Virginia Herpetological Society’s website link

Virginia Herpetological Society’s website has information on the various reptiles and amphibians found throughout Virginia.  You can also send them a picture of a reptile or amphibian you are having difficulty identifying.  If you look under the “Animals” tab at the top of their website, you can find profiles of the different species that include range maps.

Xerces Society’s Pollinator Conservation Resources for the Mid-Atlantic Region website link

Xerces Society’s Pollinator Conservation Resources for the Mid-Atlantic Region includes recommended pollinator plants, conservation guides, bee identification and monitoring resources, and more.


Learning

The entire process of planning, creating, and using a wildlife habitat is a fantastic learning experience. These resources can help you make the most of your habitat’s educational potential.

 

 

A Field Guide to Fairfax County’s Plants and Wildlife website link

A Field Guide to Fairfax County’s Plants and Wildlife contains illustrations and information about the plants and animals most commonly found in Fairfax County along with some activities.  This guide is provided to all 4th graders in FCPS.  It is also available for free on the Fairfax County government’s website for use by all.

National Wildlife Federation Lesson Plans website link.

National Wildlife Federation Lesson Plans include such topics as habitat, ecosystems, and wildlife. They are available for grades K-12.

The Biodiversity Eco-Schools Pathway website link

The Biodiversity Eco-Schools Pathway provides samples and templates for students to conduct an audit and create an action plan to improve biodiversity on school grounds.

The Schoolyard Habitats Eco-Schools Pathway website link.

The Schoolyard Habitats Eco-Schools Pathway provides samples and templates for students to conduct an audit and create an action plan to improve schoolyard habitats.

Virginia Department of Conservation and Resources’ Your Backyard Classrooms website link.

Virginia Department of Conservation and Resources’ Your Backyard Classrooms program has many lessons and activities correlated to SOLs that can be done in outdoor classroom spaces or in a nearby park.

 

Have a resource to share that isn’t included here or in the Outdoor Learning Resource Folder

Let us know at get2green@fcps.edu!