The wildlife habitat, a Pacific Northwest native plant garden, was our first endeavor. Planning began in Spring 2001 with Atkinson parent Oregon State University 4H wildlife stewards Em Scattaregia and Kate Raphael, teachers and additional parents. An Americorps member was hired for the 2001-2002 school year to help with the project and related environmental education. In Fall 2001, the entire student body participated in site assessment and design, while learning about native plants and habitat requirements for small creatures. In October 2001, over 80 teachers, students and family members planted the main garden, while during the next few weeks every student in the school was able to have a hand in planting smaller plants and groundcovers. Maintenance and upkeep is performed by students and parent volunteers.
The wildlife habitat has grown into a favorite spot for nature study and quiet reflection. It is used for a wide range of lessons including science investigations, literacy, art, language classes, and math.