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The Madison Record

Agencies approve Liberty’s Alabama Outdoor Classroom

This herb garden is one component in the Alabama Outdoor Classroom at Liberty Middle School. CONTRIBUTED
This herb garden is one component in the Alabama Outdoor Classroom at Liberty Middle School. CONTRIBUTED

MADISON – Liberty Middle School has certified its LMS Living Laboratory with the Alabama Outdoor Classroom Program. In addition, National Wildlife Federation has approved the property as an official Schoolyard Wildlife Habitat.

“LMS Living Laboratory provides enrichment activities that tie into Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) curriculum and teaches about the students’ environment and natural resources,” Liberty Assistant Principal Dr. Kary R. Roberts said.

Alabama Wildlife Federation will recognize Liberty’s accomplishments in a certification ceremony on May 19 at 9:30 a.m. State and national federations will present signage and an Outdoor Classroom Activity Kit from Cabela’s Outdoor Fund. Guests should RSVP to Roberts at 256-430-0001, ext. 83400 or krroberts@madisoncity.k12.al.us.

Students can explore the habitat with identification test guides for water, soil and leaves.

Dr. Doug Phillips with Alabama Public Television’s “Discovering Alabama” donated 80 DVDs and teacher guides for exploring state lands.

Liberty “will provide a model for other schools across Alabama who (want) to develop an outdoor classroom and schoolyard wildlife habitat on their school grounds for hands-on learning opportunities,” Roberts said.

In the outdoor classroom, Liberty students are growing and eating vegetables and herbs from raised-bed gardens. The area has a Songbird Sanctuary, weather station with instrumentation like barometers and anemometers and Pollinator Garden to study butterfly and bee populations and migration.

“Thermophyllic and Vermiculture Decomposition Stations show students the processes of decomposition and biodegradation,” Roberts said. Students also will use a wildlife tracking station, sensory and shade gardens, stream and dry creek beds and tree identification trails.

About one mile of nature trails is available.

Helping with initial construction were Liberty JS2S; students in digital communications, STEM, science, social studies, art and drama; Student Council; baseball teams; and the lunchroom staff. Grant Greenfield earned his Eagle Scout rank by building two information kiosks.

Led by Roberts, Liberty’s planning committee included input from Madison Board of Education, Vulcan Materials, Tyler Walls, Outdoor Solutions, Rogers Group and South Limestone Quarry, Alabama Concrete, Rep. Mac McCutcheon, Sen. Bill Holtzclaw, Commissioner Steve Haraway, Across the Pond and many parents, students and residents.

For more information, email aprilwaltz@alabamawildlife.org or visit alabamawildlife.org/classroom.

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