Lakeview Elementary’s Outdoor Classroom is GROWing!! Calling all volunteers…

From Susie Hobart, teacher at Lakeview Elementary on Madison’s North Side.

Lakeview Elementary School is one of five schools in the Madison Metropolitan School District to win a grant and participate in an innovative, three-year garden-based learning pilot project funded by the Madison Community Foundation. Susie is a teacher on the school’s team. 

We need your help on Monday, May 13th at 3:30. Read on for an update…
Led by our volunteer contractor (Tim Connor) and volunteer architect (Tom Hirsch) on Saturday, May 4th,  we measured and squared the structure for our pavlion, dug five foot holes, set the 300 pound poles, braced the structure and put up one of the 500 pound headers. Sunday, May 5th,  four dads, one gym teacher, one mom and one friendly lawyer put the last header up, up, up.
Monday, Lycon arrived and poured  concrete around the footings, and our architect’s grandaughters smoothed the tops. (Funded by the LOWES Foundation)
Next step – Monday, May 13th,  after school around 3:30 we hope to put up the rafters and if really lucky, screw down the tongue and groove plywood roof sheathing. WE NEED YOUR HELP!

Next we will construct frames around the posts  30″ from the ground and have Lycon come back and pour colored concrete in the framing, giving our footings above ground stability. If we are really lucky, Brandon Lincoln will arrive and lay the roofing. If not that day, soon.

Once the pavilion is constructed, our very  own art teacher, Mr. Vang, will install the hundreds of 3 x 3 inch nature based clay tiles made by our very own k-5 artists from the top of the concrete to the top of the structure. (Funded by the Madison Arts Council) Our 4/5th graders will be installing a rain garden between the school and the pavilion to take advantage of the runoff and create a bird friendly habitat. (Funded by National Forestry Foundation)

A wonderful volunteer, Dean, is working with students to build 4 eight foot cedar picnic tables (funded by Willy St)  that will serve as seating in the pavilion. Our friend, Mr. Richard, a retired art teacher, has helped some of our budding artists paint nature murals on the bench seats. Under the pavilion will also be our garden kitchen i.e. a stainless steel table and sink from Kessenichs. (Funded by GHC and the Dane County/ City of Madison Health Department.)

Our new garden beds are up! And thanks to James Kudzin’s carpentry and our GROW grant, and Vesna’s earth leveling, we now have twelve beds. Two for strawberries, one a Hmong demonstration bed, one a sensory garden and eight for eight of our classrooms. Our K-1st graders planted seeds in science, and now the older students get to transplant them.Moms, Vesna, Zivile and Melissa are all helping classes plant the beds.

We are working to clear the buckthorn, honeysuckles and garlic mustard from the woods. Students are creating walking paths and sitting areas. We are hoping to create a meditative walking path through the woods on our UW Health sponsored Wellness Day, June 10th.
A small group of interested north siders are investigating the purchase of the wetlands adjacent to the school. It could provide a wonderful educational ecosystem for students.
Did you notice that our bushes adjacent to the parking lot are disappearing? We will be replacing the scraggly bushes with edible bushes…service berries and a variety of raspberries.
We are so fortunate to have so many volunteers and parties willing to help us financially. Our friends at the WI Environmental Education Board and Keith Warnke of the DNR were the catalysts last summer.

The plans for the pavilion are in the office windows and garden area plans posted upstairs. Stop and see them. Better yet, come on back around the school, and see what is going on in our exciting OUTDOOR CLASSROOM. Feel free to pull some garlic mustard or stir the compost bins. And if you can, please join us this Monday or at our next pavilion work day. 

Susan J Hobart, MSEd, NBCT
Lake View Elementary School
Madison Metropolitan School District

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