CHCA junior Madeline Dykstra and a team of volunteers created an outdoor classroom in the natural outdoor scape between the Edyth B. Lindner and the Founders' Campuses this summer. The new classroom is located at the east end of the existing nature trail, in a shady setting beside the creek. It features rustic benches in a mulched clearing flanked by two enormous native sycamore trees. This area will be a valuable asset for outdoor, hands-on education for science, as well as other classes, and provides a peaceful place for students to rest and enjoy God's creation.
Dykstra and her team worked more than 175 hours, cutting and hauling away non-native honeysuckles, toting and spreading mulch, and constructing the benches. They also collected several pounds of trash from the forest and creek, including some large metal rubbish still deposited there as a result of the 1999 tornado that struck Founders' Campus.
The outdoor classroom has already had much use as CHCA Science Teacher, Mindy Gallagher, has been using it several times
a week for all grade levels. "It is such a blessing to have this new space," says Gallagher, "The students love it because they have so much more space to explore and learn near the creek, and I love it because I have a great open space to teach entire class. It has made a huge difference in improving our outdoor education program!"
Dykstra designed and led the project as part of her Stars and Stripes award, the highest recognition in American Heritage Girls. She was a member of CHCA's AHG troop, OH9910, for six years, and is currently a member of troop OH2513.
To check out the new outdoor classroom, follow the Nature Trail in the woods below the Promise Path.
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