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4H Wildlife Stewards
Bringing Science and Nature Together...one school at a time.


Interpretive and Informational Signage

Susan E. Wieske. 4-H Wildlife Stewards Program Coordinator

Signage in a school Habitat Education Site can be a significant addition to the area by helping to educate the community.  The OSU Extension 4-H Wildlife Stewards Program provides an 18” X 24” metal sign to each school that breaks ground for a sustainable Habitat Education Site.  The sign delineates the space, on or near school grounds, as an Oregon 4-H Wildlife Stewards “Wildlife Habitat.”  It has the school’s name and states it is a 4-H Member School.  It also has both the 4-H Wildlife Stewards’ logo as well as the Oregon State University logo.  This allows the public to see who is involved in the project and who supports the school in its endeavors to create an environmentally sustainable project by promoting stewardship among youth in the community. 

Students are at the heart of these projects.  They help locate a site, map the grounds, gather baseline data, and plan a habitat enhancement project with an environmentally sound approach.  Students want and need support from the school and community.  One way to do this is to educate them about their project.  Students can provide signage that explains the type of habitat that exists whether it is a forest, woodland, or wetland area.  Other signage identifying particular plants and trees can be a welcoming addition.

Signage can educate the community by providing information about the project including who designed the area and who will be maintaining the area.  It can attract visitors and help them to become more knowledgeable about the wildlife habitat.  The more people aware and interested in the site, the less likely there will be a problem with vandalism.  The project becomes a part of the community and those in the community will begin to have an appreciation for the area and a feeling of ownership.  There are considerations that need to be made when designing and placing signage in a Habitat Education Site.  These considerations include, but are not limited to, durability, cost, and visibility.


Signs in the Habitat Education Site need to withstand the elements of nature.  It is important to consider conditions in the site including wind, sun, moisture, and fluctuation in temperature.


Signs will need to be replaced due to wear or vandalism.  Signage will also need to be periodically updated as the habitat changes and evolves. 


Signs will need to be easy to read and should be appropriate for the intended audience visiting your Habitat Education Site.  Consider disabled and handicapped persons.  Wheelchair accessibility is also important to consider when placing signs in the Habitat Education Site.  Size and lettering of each sign should be considered.  It is important to find out school district guidelines.  For example, Portland Public Schools request that signage not have an area greater than 36” X 36”.  You don’t want the sign to be a hiding place that may be dangerous for students and visitors to the wildlife habitat. 


Recognition should be given to the appropriate individuals or groups that designed, developed, and will continue to maintain the area. 

Easy and Inexpensive Construction Ideas

  • Pieces of wood, painted to look like seed packets
  • Laminate signs
  • Sculpey or Fimo clay – hardened in a home oven – use acrylic paint
  • Permanent marker on Popsicle sticks
  • Frozen OJ can lid and label maker
  • Ceramic tile pieces and a label maker
  • Permanent marker on long slats from old blinds
  • Plastic Photo Holders


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4-H Wildlife Stewards, Sunnyside Environmental School, 3421 SE Salmon 1209,
Portland, OR 97214 - 503-916-6074, e-mail: wildifestewards@oregonstate.edu
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