Pettigrew Academy in Waxahachie is officially wild.
The small, private school on Marvin Avenue has been certified as an urban wildlife habitat by the National Wildlife Federation. As such, it joins the ranks of thousands of homes, institutions and businesses that have pledged to ensure that their property is hospitable to wildlife.
In the school’s lush trees and beautiful open areas, Mockingbirds and squirrels forage for food, build nests and raise their young. Lizards have taken up residence on campus, and butterflies and beneficial insects thrive in the organically maintained, native landscaping.
The school’s attention to the natural world not only benefits wildlife but also serves as a supplement to the school’s curriculum. In addition to the the three Rs, Pettigrew students are taught hands-on lessons in the school’s vegetable garden, fruit orchard and butterfly garden with expertise provided by the Ellis County Master Gardeners Association.
Although most adults would be hard pressed to tell the difference between ragweed and a tomato plant, Pettigrew students know the common names of a wide variety of native plants as well as how to cultivate them.
More than just an outdoor classroom, the school’s grounds serve as a refuge for plants, animals and insects losing ground to urban sprawl.
— Written and produced by Marshal Hinsley