Green Hope Elementary Kicks off Outdoor Learning Initiative

Cary, NC — During a beautiful Saturday in April, students and families of Green Hope Elementary in Cary celebrated the 50th anniversary of Earth Day by cleaning up the campus and receiving a native tree sapling donated by the National Wildlife Federation.

Students were excited to bring these trees home to plant in their own yards and watch their growth.

“We use so much paper that it’s important to grow more trees so the Earth can survive,” said 3rd grader Francesca Gatt. “I can’t wait to see this tree grow with me.”

After four hours of weeding, mulching, planting flowers and revitalizing a 20-year-old frog pond wildlife habitat, students enjoyed frozen treats from JAM ice cream truck. This was the first time many of these students had been together in over a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It was a wonderful opportunity to socialize outdoors, keep the community close and learn about environmental responsibility.

Students and families were joined by teachers, the Green Hope High School wrestling team, WCPSS school board member Karen Carter and GHE Principal Kristin Walker.

This event was also the kickoff to GHE’s upcoming outdoor STEM classroom, Falcon’s Nest. The PTA is sponsoring these beautification days to gain more community support for building Falcon’s Nest and its Garden Club.

This pandemic has taught us that students need more access to outdoor learning spaces. Falcon’s Nest will be a unique outdoor learning space that offers Green Hope Elementary students opportunities to build creativity, problem-solving skills, cooperation and confidence.

There will be hands-on activities such as a lab to study plant and insect lifecycles, a weather station,  or natural materials for a bridge-building challenge. It will consist of two classroom learning pods and a covered outdoor shelter to be used as a classroom and event space.

The National Wildlife Federation donated 200 native River Birch trees as part of their Trees for Wildlife grant program, which the PTA applied for. Green Hope Elementary students were handed instructions on how to plant and keep the saplings alive.

To read more about Falcon’s Nest and GHE’s natural learning initiative, follow our Falcon’s Nest blog. To sponsor or get involved, write to [email protected] or take a look at the sponsorship page.

Story by Andrea Gatt, Chair of the Falcon’s Nest, Green Hope Elementary PTA. Photos by Stacey Watson.

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