ELMHURST PROJECT-   Outdoor Classroom and 2014 Chicago Wilderness Conservation and Native Landscape Award Recipient


Permeable walkway, wildlife habitat, recycled and local materials front door landscape photo

What student wouldn’t enjoy an outdoor space with wildlife habitat, vegetable gardens, rain garden, multiple seating areas, and weather station? Plus compost bins, areas to run around, a yoga space, and screening from adjacent parking lots. Long term maintenance by volunteers is required, but the benefits to both students and the community are endless! 

Before photo


Rain garden with native plants image

Students enjoy finding caterpillars, butterflies, and other wildlife on the native plants they installed. Small lawn area  designed for yoga. Recycled arbor separates smaller garden from larger garden area. 

permeable, recycled fire pit sitting area photo

Students grow and harvest cool season vegetables in pots and vertical pockets. Students make salads with spring greens and soups with fall vegetables. Yummy!

Prairie Garden wildlife habitat Naperville yard image

Large classroom seating with benches from recycled ash trees. Three stage compost bins recycle lunch scraps for vegetable gardens. Benches and bins made by talented parent. 

Students enjoy crossing bridge over the rain garden swale. Rain garden built around existing drains where run-off often pools.

This project could not have happen without the community, but the community will benefit in return when children play and learn in nature!  Thank you to all those who contributed so much, but especially key parents and teachers from the school,  parents who made compost bins and ash tree benches, the school staff who supported this plan, installed water hoses, and maintain the lawn organically. Most of all, contractor Erwin Steinhebel & Sons Inc. who donated much needed labor and materials. For more info, please read my blog Outdoor Classroom Resources .


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