New Outdoor Classroom Inspires Community
Keep Anderson County Beautiful (KACB) in Oak Ridge, Tenn., constructed two outdoor classrooms at elementary schools in rural, impoverished areas of the county, thanks to a Lowe’s/KAB Community Improvement Grant.
The outdoor classroom pavilions were placed next to wetlands so that both children and adults could learn and discover more about wetland ecosystems. Through the project, KACB also developed 10 new community partnerships. One of the partners provided recommendations to altering the design of the outdoor classrooms, so that rain barrels could catch storm water runoff and the runoff could be being routed to the wetlands.
Keep Anderson County Beautiful Vice Chair Patricia Imperato explained that both ribbon-cutting ceremonies at the classrooms were very inspiring. Imperato wrote, “Seeing not only student and teacher participation and enthusiasm but also the many children’s parents who attended to celebrate these new additions to the school campuses. Many children related how happy they were to have an outdoor classroom because it was hard to study the wetlands when it was raining, which is an important climate event for a wetland.”
The classrooms provide a comfortable learning environment for more than 300 students as well as provide a meeting place for the community at-large. They will allow children from lower income families to have a safe outdoor public places to study and explore the importance of wetland ecosystems.