Connecticut Audubon recognizes Lauralton as a Healthy Habitat for Birds and Wildlife

On October 23, Connecticut Audubon recognized Lauralton Hall’s 30-acre campus as one of Audubon At Home’s (AAH) Healthy Habitats for Birds and Wildlife. The AAH reports that bird populations continue to decline worldwide with the main threat being loss of habitat. Lauralton, along with help from the Environmental Club, has put forward continuing efforts to build a school yard habitat and now meets the five principals of AAH that allow recognition: eliminate or reduce pesticide use; protect native species; remove exotic invasive plants; conserve water; and protect water quality.

Students and staff were privileged to have the expertise and guidance of Taralynn Reynolds, a Bird Friendly Communities Coordinator, from Audubon Connecticut, who has been working closely with Lauralton over the past two years. During Taralynn’s initial visit to the grounds, she suggested a great place to start would be a neglected butterfly garden in need of rehabilitation. The garden soon became a community effort. Faculty, staff and students all lent a hand by purchasing plants, gardening, amending the soil, removing invasive plants and keeping water supplied on hot summer days. Donna DiMassa, Environmental Club Moderator and English teacher stated, “We now have larval host plants, shelter plants, nectar plants, a butterfly bath and mud from which the butterflies can extract salt and nutrients. We are only beginning, yet, at the same time, we are well on our way in our campaign to provide shelter, water, food sources and places to reproduce for birds and butterflies.”

Taralynn provided Lauralton with an Audubon Connecticut sign designating the school yard a Healthy Habitat and she thanked the Environmental Club and faculty for their help providing a sanctuary. Taralynn is proud of Lauralton’s progress, “I have been lucky enough to be able to work with Donna DiMassa and the wonderful students and staff of Lauralton Hall. They have used all the information given to them about how to support birds and other wildlife on campus. The butterfly habitat is just the start. Over the next few years they plan to incorporate more wildlife friendly features. They serve as ambassadors for the environment and have provided their school community, students, faculty and parents with a beautiful space and many educational opportunities.”




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