The Nature Explore Classroom at
St. Paul Lutheran School
At St. Paul Lutheran we are blessed with wide open green space that is bordered with a strip of woods and a creek.
While the green space has always been nice to look at, it lacked plant diversity. After attending the Leadership Institute in Nebraska City, I had the resources and the idea of how to start our own Nature Explore Classroom at our site. I also had the support of our principal and this space would not have been possible without her help or the dedication of our church elders who made our ideas come to fruition.
We wrote many local grants, had amazing church buy-in and support to build the area, and we had family buy-in with many of the families donating their time to come and help plant the plantings or donate items (such as the concrete pad for the building area) to help design the space. Our landscape design was done pro bono by one of our student’s parents with an emphasis on having a butterfly/pollinator habitat.
The next big piece was a grant through the Nebraska Environmental Trust, coordinated by the Nebraska Forest Service on behalf of the Nebraska Statewide Arboretum. It was called the Sustainable Schoolyard Partnership that had been designed to improve sustainability, ecological quality, and learning opportunities of school grounds.
The children and the staff utilize the space on a daily basis incorporating journaling, science lessons, spelling, and math concepts into hands-on lessons. The children love to construct pole houses, use their imagination, and interact with the space every day. They are allowed free time in the space to explore for at least 30 minutes each day. THANK YOU TO OUR CHURCH AND FAMILY MEMBERS. WE COULD NOT HAVE ACCOMPLISHED THIS ADVENTURE WITHOUT YOU!
930 Prairie Lane
Beatrice, NE 68310