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

This grassy area was the only outdoor green space for the students.  Now this area has wildlife habitat, vegetable gardens, rain garden, multiple seating areas, weather station, compost bins, screening from parking lots and more. Outdoor classrooms are a great way to introduce children to nature, where it is accessible by many and on a daily basis.

Before photo


Rain garden with native plants image

Students enjoy finding caterpillars, butterflies, birds, and other wildlife on the native plants they helped put in. Arbor was recycled from another landscape.

permeable, recycled fire pit sitting area photo

Vegetables are grown and harvested by students in pots and vertical pockets. Greens are harvested in spring for salads, vegetables and herbs in fall for soup.

Prairie Garden wildlife habitat Naperville yard image

Large classroom seating area with benches recycled from ash trees. Three stage compost recycles lunch scraps, and ammends soil in vegetable gardens.

Students enjoy crossing bridge over the rain garden swale. Rain garden was built around existing drains where run-off 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,  and contractors Erwin Steinhebel & Sons Inc.  who donated much labor and materials. For more info, please read  my blog Outdoor Classroom Resources .


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