Julian Newman Partners to Bring Outdoor Classroom to Students

JNES Garden


ATHENS, Alabama, April 9, 2018 --- Julian Newman Elementary School will hold an Outdoor Classroom Day in partnership with the Alabama Outdoor Classroom (AOC) Program on Friday, April 20. Julian Newman students, parents, faculty and community volunteers will help establish a bird sanctuary and install plants for pollinator, butterfly, sensory and seasonal gardens. These will be used as learning stations for all classes at the school.

The media is invited to tour the school’s outdoor classroom site and take pictures throughout the day. The event will begin at 8:00 a.m. with shifts of students and volunteers cycling through until approximately 2:30 p.m..

Julian Newman is eligible to participate in an Outdoor Classroom Day because they are enrolled in the Alabama Outdoor Classroom (AOC) Program—a partnership between the Alabama Wildlife Federation (AWF), Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and Alabama Cooperative Extension System that provides technical assistance for schools who want to develop sustainable outdoor classroom sites that can be utilized as effective teaching tools.

Julian Newman’s outdoor classroom site is the vision of their outdoor classroom planning committee which includes teachers Holly Hargrove, Katie Roberts and Tyler Nay. AWF Outdoor Classroom Consultant Emily Clem is providing technical assistance to design their outdoor classroom site and to assist with their Outdoor Classroom Day.

Throughout their Outdoor Classroom Day, students and volunteers will work side-by-side to create a living laboratory, which will include a wide variety of “outdoor learning stations” where students can participate in hands-on activities. For instance, students will have the opportunities to study and report songbird and butterfly observations online, to learn how to create habitats for wildlife and to attract vital pollinators to support agriculture in Northwest Alabama with their butterfly gardens.

The funds and materials for Julian Newman’s new outdoor classroom learning stations come from an Alabama Wildlife Foundation Outdoor Classroom Grant along with donations from parents and Limestone County Master Gardeners.

A goal of the Alabama Outdoor Classroom Program is to provide hands-on, outdoor learning opportunities that allow students of all ages to utilize multiple-disciplinary skills in a fun and exciting environment. At present, over 300 schools across Alabama are developing and using outdoor classroom sites through this program. For more information, please visit the AWF’s website at https://www.alabamawildlife.org/outdoor-classroom-program/ , or contact April Waltz, the AOC Program State Coordinator, at (256) 882-9183.