Paradise Gardens: A space for all to learn

By: David Waterman

The outdoor classroom, located at the bottom of the steps from the lower parking lot, goes by quite a few different names, such as the land lab, Paradise Gardens, and outdoor lab. The official name, though, is Paradise Gardens.

Most students know it as a science space. “I’ve only ever gone out there for science classes,” senior Ian Bodner said. According to Science Department Chair Regina Goines, though, “The science department does not manage the outdoor classroom.”

In reality, the outdoor classroom is not just for science classes but for everyone. It is open for use by any teachers at any time. “The outdoor classroom is available for teachers to use within their curriculum and lessons,” Goines said. Paradise Gardens’ use has been almost exclusively used by the science class for experiments and interactive learning, and past uses for the outdoor classroom include: identifying plant structures, sampling data, collecting examples for class use, and hands-on learning.

Even though no specific group is responsible for the outdoor classroom, a few teachers have taken care of the trails including honeysuckle removal, trimming, and just all-around maintenance needed to keep the outdoor classroom in good condition. Nature is an obstacle to keeping this space readily available, between weeds, poison ivy, and trees falling and blocking paths this area faces quite a few challenges. “I hope that we will use this space more throughout the years as I think students benefit from it,” Bodner said.

Wulker in the Outdoor Classroom.PNG
Former teacher Lauren Wulker examines undergrowth in the outdoor classroom. Paradise Gardens allows teachers to encourage students to participate in hands-on learning.

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