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Conservation Education



Outdoor Classroom Corner

01 03 13 - 20:08

An outdoor classroom can be a fun and exciting way to learn for both students and teachers. New discoveries are made during each new visit to the outdoor classroom. If you're school is thinking of starting an outdoor classroom here are some "tips and tricks" for success: INVOLVEMENT: By far, getting as many different people as possible involved is one of the key ingredients to an outdoor classroom area that works and keeps on working. All too often, one teacher or one principal tries to take on the entire task of creating an outdoor classroom. If that person should leave, the outdoor classroom usually falls to disrepair. Additionally, by getting a number of people involved more people will feel an ownership of the outdoor classroom ensuring it will be used, maintained, and not vandalized. Plus there is the advantage of having lots of creative juices mixed together. COMMITTEE:The first letters of this word spell commit as in commitment. Any great outdoor classroom needs a group of people who are committed to making it work. Some of the "must have" people that should be on the committee are:

  • at least three or four teachers
  • the custodial and/or maintenance staff
  • at least one or two parents
  • the principal or other administrator

Other people to consider to be members of a committee would be students, natural resources professionals from local Soil & Water Conservation Districts, Department of Natural Resources, and Ag Extensions, local churches, businesses and utilities, scout groups and the list goes on. Any of these people would also make great sources for labor and funding. Subcommittees can also be formed to take care of different stages of construction and maintenance. MAINTAINANCE: One great way to maintain an outdoor classroom during the summer is to send a letter home for parents and students to sign up for a maintenance day. One maintenance day per week is sufficient for parents/students during the summer. (Courtesy of Stacy Davis, teacher at Brentwood Elementary, Plainfield) GRADE LEVEL GARDENS: One way to ensure that everyone uses the outdoor classroom is by having a garden for each grade level. The teachers (and students if possible) for each grade level get together and decide what they would like to plant. Using a related curricular theme is a popular way to decide what to plant, i.e. pioneer, Native American, plants in literature, ABC's plants, etc. For information on assistance with building an outdoor classroom call or write: Hendricks County SWCD
195 Meadow Dr. STE #2
Danville, IN 46122
(317) 745-2555

* View sample plans of outdoor classrooms:

Plan 1..... Plan 2..... Plan 3..... Plan 4..... Plan 5

* Suggested Areas-plants-items to use in an outdoor classroom



Hendricks County Soil and Water Conservation District is an independent, legal subdivision of state government, funded by state, local, and private contributions. They are responsible for administering the natural resource programs within their county boundaries by:

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