Brimmer and May School
National Wildlife Federation Certifies New Wildlife Habitat at Brimmer and May School
The National Wildlife Federation (NWF) announced that property owned by Brimmer and May School, a co-ed pre-kindergarten through grade 12 day school in Chestnut Hill, MA, has been recognized as an official Certified Wildlife Habitat site. The property, located behind one of the school’s buildings at 73 Middlesex Road, attracts a variety of birds, butterflies, and other local animals by providing a wildlife-friendly landscape.
In order to become certified, a property must provide the four basic elements that all wildlife need: food, water, cover, and places to raise young. In addition to providing for wildlife, certified habitats conserve natural resources by reducing or eliminating the need for fertilizers, pesticides, and/or irrigation waters, which ultimately protects the air, soil, and water throughout our communities, and they can help reduce the pollution which causes global warming.
Creating the Habitat is one piece of what Brimmer and May’s curriculum does as the school focuses on the essential question, "How can our instruction, curriculum, and co-curricular programs prepare and inspire students to think and act as responsible and ethical citizens within the diverse community?”
Brimmer and May began creating the Habitat in the spring 2007. Eric Kelliher ’07 came up with the physical design and made suggestions for plantings, along with the help of a landscaper he worked with as part of his Senior Project. Science teacher Jill Iuliano, of Waltham, advised Kelliher on his Project and began to introduce New England native plants and facilitate the creation of a Wildlife Habitat after Kelliher graduated.
Over 200 students and approximately 25 teachers have worked on the Habitat since 2007, including almost every Brimmer and May fourth and fifth grader. In addition, teachers have brought their students out to the Habitat to study the soil, plant seeds, make birdhouses and participate in the fall clean up each year. Brimmer and May’s Summer Campers work in the Habitat during nature classes and participants in the School’s former Girls' Summer Science Program also contributed. Students watered the new plantings and planted seeds in the raised flower beds.
Iuliano says, “Nearly all of the plantings have come from New England Wild Flower Society's Garden in the Woods in Framingham. We wanted have plants that are native to the area in order to provide proper food for local wildlife and to limit the amount of watering needed. The gardens, in raised beds, are in organic soil, so the herbs and vegetables can be eaten by students and faculty, but I would say the animals enjoy them more!”
Iuliano comments, “I recently read that students know more about the polar bears than they do about the animals in their own backyards. I believe that is true. We hope that through our Certified Wildlife Habitat our students and campers can learn as much about our own ecosystem as they have about others around the world.”
David Mizejewski, NWF Naturalist and spokesperson says, “It’s easy to feel that there is no hope for wildlife in our modern world of smog, traffic, and asphalt. But, there is hope. Each of us can make our own piece of the earth a healthy, green space that helps restore the ecological balance.” The mission of the National Wildlife Federation is to inspire Americans to protect wildlife for our children’s future.
Brimmer and May is a Pre-K-12, coeducational, independent day school which serves a student body from over fifty-six communities in Greater Boston and fourteen countries throughout the world.