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Wildlife federation hosts Jets’ Outdoor Classroom Day

MADISON – The Alabama Wildlife Federation hosted Outdoor Classroom Day at James Clemens High School on March 30 to expand this venue for students to apply skills in multiple disciplines.

James Clemens was eligible to participate in this workday because the school is enrolled in the Alabama Outdoor Classroom Program. This program involves a partnership among the wildlife federation, Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, and Alabama Cooperative Extension System.

“James Clemens students, parents, faculty and community leaders helped build and install a pollination station, bog garden, butterfly garden, flower bed, solar lighting, charging systems and other outdoor classroom learning stations on their school grounds all in a one-day work blitz in rotating shifts,” John S. Peck said. Peck is Public Relations Manager for Madison City Schools.

In addition, new solar panels and charging stations will allow students to use electronic devices for longer periods of time as they collect data and light the walking paths for residents to use at night. 

Shifts of volunteer workers cycled through the day from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

“The goal of the Alabama Outdoor Classroom Program is to provide hands-on, outdoor learning opportunities that allow students of all ages to utilize skills in a fun, exciting environment. Many Madison City elementary and middle schools have sanctioned outdoor classrooms,” Peck said.

A planning committee has guided the outdoor classroom’s vision. These educators are Brittany Bankston, Mary Crouch, Greg Ennis, Amy Haley, Joelle Lilavois, Samuel McCray, Meleighsa McLaughlin, Michael Merritt, Allison Miller, Kristen Steele and Patricia Williams.

“James Clemens students (can) learn about limiting factors in wildlife habitats, study vital pollinators that support agriculture in Northwest Alabama and conduct water quality tests, such as pH, dissolved oxygen, flow rate, temperature and nitrate levels,” April Lupardus Waltz said. Waltz is the wildlife federation’s outdoor classroom coordinator and is giving technical advice for the James Clemens site.

Along with parents’ contribution, donors are Madison County Commission Chairman Dale Strong; Bobby Valentine, Lowe’s Assistant Manager; Josh Williams, Home Depot Store Manager; Roger Lyon, owner of Enchanted Forest; Mike Kirkland, Supervisor of Vulcan Rock Material; and County Commissioner Steve Haraway.   

For more information, visit alabamawildlife.org.

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