Earth Partnership for Schools

WOODLAND RESTORATION INTERACTIVE WORKSHOP > HOW TO RESTORE WOODLAND AT YOUR SCHOOL > STUDY THE SITE > MAP YOUR SITE

A map of the school yard and the local surroundings is essential for several reasons: the process offers hands-on, skill building, educational experiences; it necessary for long-term planning and design; and it is a means to spatially organize and analyze the information gathered from the site investigations.

Suggestions:

Obtain existing maps or blueprints of the schoolyard, topographic maps from the U.S. Geological Survey, city or community maps displaying your school.

Use existing local maps to look at your school from the inside out to identify the surroundings. Determine the school's geographical location and watershed. Identify the neighboring landowners and future land uses and development that may effect your project. Identify natural areas with similar topography, soil, and hydrology that you can use as models for planning your restoration. This information will help you to understand your school's connections and relationships to the local environment.

Create a map of the school grounds with a scale that allows you to view the whole site with adequate detail. Draw on your base map all permanent features, including buildings, roads, sidewalks; fences, walls, and other permanent structures; utilities above and below ground; playgrounds and athletic fields; existing vegetation; and open water.

Collect information about soils, microclimate, topography, and biological and cultural features of your site. The following link connects you to activities for investigating your site: Study the Site

Display results on a series of overlay maps that can be placed over your base map. Draw overlay maps on tracing paper or acetate, which will allow you to view several features of your site at the same time.

For detailed instructions for mapping your site use one of the following resources:

  • Prairie Restoration for Wisconsin Schools by Molly Fifield Murray, UW-Madison Arboretum (available for purchase online from the Arboretum Bookstore)
  • Homes for Wildlife by Marilyn Wyzga.