ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Millenia Gardens Elementary School in Orange County is celebrating the certification of its brand new wildlife sanctuary. It is the first environmental project of its kind in the area teaching kids about the environment and improving grades.
The newly certified schoolyard habitat is made possible thanks to a grant from the school's partner in education, State Farm. Students from the school's Eco-Club came out over the summer to help get it started.
And the Eco-Club is more than hands-on learning fun, it's getting results. Students in the group scored 40 points higher on FCAT science exams. It's also inspiring students to pursue future careers in science. Other projects around campus include a butterfly garden and hydroponic garden created by students to enjoy and learn from all while supporting nature. Last school year, students were also able to raise some baby ducks found at a construction site nearby and they raised lettuce to help feed manatees at Sea World.
"I love all the animals that keep coming to explore and have their life here," Fifth grader, Zakary Chatelier, said.
"It reminds me of New Jersey. A tiny New Jersey forest, you can read, it's so majestic. I could sit here for hours," Isabella Mayorja, a 5th grader, said.
On Thursday, the school will hold a dedication ceremony for the wildlife sanctuary to celebrate the official certification from the National Wildlife Federation.