Zavala Elementary

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Keys to Success

  • Grant funding from the National Wildlife Federation
  • Committed faculty, staff, and administration
  • National Wildlife Federation handbook and leadership
  • Student involvement
  • The habitat is in a central location, frequented by students
  • A complete design
  • Research of local resources and public spaces/habitats
  • Saturday workdays (Austin Rotary has a “Service Austin” website)


  • Needed a fence and video surveillance
  • Shopping for materials and figuring how much to order of different materials
  • Maintenance and knowledge about how to maintain different plants
  • Staying within a limited budget

"The very first day I was on campus, I looked out the window and saw potential here. I knew that someday we would have a garden here." Sean Fox

"We haven't had 1 instance of graffiti or littering since installing the habitat in this area." Sean Fox

How we made a habitat happen

At the beginning I knew nothing. Our school had received a grant from the National Wildlife Federation for $1500 to create a habitat on campus. At the first meeting with the NWF representative, my principal asked me to be the contact person. I consented, not realizing that this role would morph into something much broader in scope.