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  • scarmanTypewritten Text

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  • scarmanTypewritten TextSoil and Water Conservation Districts or Purdue Cooperative Extension Service officesare excellent resources for local groups wishing to develop an outdoor classroom.To find the offices in your area of Indiana, go to the following websites:Soil and Water Conservation District: http://www.iaswcd.org/contactus.htmlPurdue Cooperative Extension: http://www.extension.purdue.edu/anr/field/fs/countyoffices2.html. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .For educational materials and assistance related to Indiana's natural and cultural resources, contact the Indiana Department of Natural Resources' education programs:Forestry: http://www.in.gov/dnr/forestry/2853.htmFish & Wildlife: http://www.in.gov/dnr/fishwild/7543.htmState Parks & Reservoirs: http://www.in.gov/dnr/parklake/2389.htmCoal Mine Reclamation: http://www.in.gov/dnr/reclamation/3490.htmHistoric Preservation & Archaeology: http://www.in.gov/dnr/historic/5676.htm

    scarmanTypewritten TextOriginal "Guidelines & Features For Outdoor Classrooms"developed by Sam Carman, IDNR-Division of Forestry. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Redesigned by Deb Fairhurst, Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service

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    TABLE OF CONTENTS

    Introduction .......................................................... 4Designing an Outdoor Lab Committee ................. 5Working with the Media ....................................... 7Funding Sources for Outdoor Labs....................... 7Brief Listing of Reference Materials .................... 8Plant Materials List ..........................................9-10Maintenance Schedule for Outdoor Labs ........... 11Animal Tracking Plot.......................................... 12Arboretum........................................................... 12Archaeological Dig Site ...................................... 12Berry Producing Shrubs ...................................... 12Bird Blind ........................................................... 12Bird Feeders ........................................................ 13Bulbs, Corms, and Tubers................................... 13Butterfly Garden ................................................. 13Compost Pile ...................................................... 13Creek ................................................................... 13Dinosaur Study Area ........................................... 13Existing Timber Stand ........................................ 13Erosion Control Demonstration Site .................. 14Fence Row .......................................................... 14Fossil Path .......................................................... 14Grasses Plot ........................................................ 14Groundwater Monitoring Hole ........................... 14Herb Garden ....................................................... 15Herbaceous Wildlife Plantings ........................... 15Horticulture Demonstration and Test Plots......... 15Native American Theme Area ............................ 15Insect Traps ......................................................... 15Lath Structure ..................................................... 15Marsh .................................................................. 15Milled Sawlog..................................................... 16Natures Swap Shop ......................................... 16Nesting Boxes ..................................................... 16Orchard ............................................................... 16Ornamental Flower Beds .................................... 16Outdoor Seating Area ......................................... 17Perch n Plant ...................................................... 17Pond .................................................................... 17Prairie Plot .......................................................... 17Road .................................................................... 17Rock Pile, Geological Studies ............................ 18Sensory Discovery Area...................................... 18Shelter ................................................................. 18Signs ................................................................... 18Snow Fence Demonstration ................................ 18

    Soil Studies ......................................................... 18Solar/Wind Energy Demonstration ..................... 18Sound Tubes ....................................................... 19Storage Building ................................................. 19Succession Areas ................................................ 19Sundial ................................................................ 19Time Capsule ...................................................... 19Trail ..................................................................... 19Tree Cross Sections ............................................ 19Tree Plantation .................................................... 20Tree Seedling Nursery ........................................ 20Watering Hole ..................................................... 20Weather Station ................................................... 20Whisper Tube...................................................... 20Wildflower Plot .................................................. 21Wildlife Brushpiles ............................................. 21Wildlife Food Plots of Grains ............................. 21Windbreaks of Tree and Shrub Plantings ........... 21Wood Decay Test Site ......................................... 21Woodland Clearing/Regeneration Area .............. 21Sample Outdoor Lab Plans ............................22-40

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    The concept of outdoor laboratories on school sites ispopular in Indiana, with hundreds of schools currentlydeveloping labs. A great deal has been learned from workingwith these schools about which procedures tend to besuccessful and which do not. As you begin to plan for thedevelopment of your schools outdoor lab, please considerthe following factors and suggestions.

    1. Organization Rambo may have been an interesting movie character, buthe probably would not get very far as a teacher proposing anoutdoor lab. Yet many labs are attempted by one or twopeople who take it on as a personal project without theassistance of fellow teachers, administrators or others. Themost successful labs are those guided by a standingcommittee composed of teachers, administrators, buildingsand grounds personnel, community members, students, PTAmembers and any others showing an interest. A broad baseof support and expertise is critical to success. Once thecommittee is formed, sub-committees should be developed toaddress funding, public awareness and support, curriculumand maintenance (as a minimum).

    2. Curriculum Just as you would not construct a building without specificplans based on solid objectives, so an outdoor lab should notbe developed without forethought as to exactly how it will beused. Before the first nail is driven or the first tree is planted,considerable thought must be given to how activities in theproposed outdoor lab will fit into the existing curriculum.How will the outdoor lab help students improve their

    proficiencies in all subject areas? Have teachers in allsubject areas been consulted as to how they will make use ofthe outdoor lab and what features would be useful for them toinclude in the plan? Have teachers received any in-servicetraining in conservation education so that they can becomefamiliar with methods of using the outdoors in their teaching?Unfortunately, outdoor labs have often been developed withonly the science subjects in mind; this is like allowingstudents to use a dictionary only in English class. There areexcellent curricular supplements available which use theoutdoors to enhance the teaching of any subject.

    3. Cost How much does an outdoor lab cost to develop? Somebeautiful, high tech labs have cost schools thousands ofdollars to develop. Equally beautiful, simpler labs have beendeveloped with almost no financial output. Cost mustcertainly be considered, but should not be a deterrent todeveloping what the staff really wants and will use. Whatfunding, materials and labor the school cannot afford canusually be raised through donations from local individualsand organizations. This highlights the need for a good, solidcommittee and an effort to make the community aware of theoutdoor lab project.

    4. Maintenance While the school custodian takes care of certainmaintenance aspects of the indoor classroom, teachers andstudents are responsible for other maintenance chores. The

    same is true for the outdoor classroom, except thatthe role of the teachers and students will usually bemore significant. Outdoor labs should be designedto reduce the amount of maintenance needed asmuch as possible; but there will still be plenty ofwork to do, and this can be part of the learningexperience.

    So where do you go from here? After reviewingthis publication, first form a committee and meet

    with them to discuss the items mentioned above.After the committee has determined how the

    outdoor lab will fit into the curriculum, thecommittee should then draw a long-termplan to scale of the site and features to bedeveloped. Rome wasnt built in a day, and neitheris an outdoor lab. This whole process mayseem rather long and cumbersome, but theend result is well worth the extra effort.

    INTRODUCTION

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    ORGANIZING AN OUTDOOR LAB COMMITTEE

    Organizing a permanent committee is the most importantstep to begin a successful outdoor lab. The committeesystem has proven to be successful time after time ingovernment affairs and private enterprise. The organizationof a committee and the background of its members are veryimportant to insure the outdoor lab is a positive experiencefor the administration, teachers, students and community.

    Why have a committee? A committee provides a means to use the variousbackgrounds and talents of its members. A committee willspread the workload, reducing responsibilities of eachperson. The committee will be the outdoor labs foundationduring planning and throughout development, and insures theprojects longevity.

    How should the committee be organized? The committee should be organized immediately afterconsideration is given to developing the outdoor lab.Organization of the committee is usually done by theperson(s) who first initiated the idea of developing anoutdoor lab. It should be composed of people who possesspositive attitudes and that are committed to conservation andeducation.

    Who should be on the committee? A committee is made up of any interested volunteers, somewith specialized backgrounds. An example of a committeemight be:

    Representative teacher from each grade level School principal School custodian Students Parents Local natural resources professional Adjacent landowners

    Qualities committee members should possess: ambitious,creative, willingness to work, committed to conservation andeducation

    What are the committees responsibilities? The committee will be responsible for the planning,development and proper usage of the outdoor lab facility. Tomake this committee work efficiently subcommittees shouldbe organized. Three subcommittees are recommended as aminimum.

    1. Site Development and Maintenance Sub-committee Is responsible for overseeing the development of thefacility. This begins with gathering information on features(physical, cultural, historical, etc.) already existing around theschool that might be used in the outdoor lab. By using schoolgrounds blueprints (if available) or by taking measurements, amap of the school grounds should be made and a plan for theoutdoor lab drawn up. Assignments for special tasks wouldbe made by this committee, and assistance by local resourcespecialists secured. Maintenance duties will also be plannedby this committee and responsibilities assigned.

    2. Curriculum and Library Sub-committee Is responsible for collecting educational materials for use inthe lab or classroom, and establishment of a library ofresource materials for both teacher and student use. Thecommittee will also work with the school administration toschedule conservation education in-service training forteachers. The importance of the sub-committee cannot beover emphasized, as the whole purpose of developing anoutdoor lab is to facilitate teaching. Curriculum integrationwith the outdoor lab must be the first priority.

    3. Funding and Public Relations Subcommittee Is responsible for developing a budget for the outdoor laband gathering funds to meet the budget (see Funding of theOutdoor Lab). Public relations are also a responsibility ofthis subcommittee. The duties involved here are presentationsto local clubs, newspaper and TV coverage, and the creationof a positive image for the overall committee and outdoor labto other teachers and the community. Subcommittee activities will vary from time to time; butwhen the need arises each should be ready to meet thechallenge. Other sub-committees may also be needed attimes.

    Summary Remember, an active committee is a must to ensure thesuccess of the outdoor lab. A committee reduces theworkload placed on each person. The committee should havepeople from various backgrounds and possess qualitiesneeded to complete the task. Subcommittees should beorganized to spread the workload even further and to utilizepeople with special backgrounds. The committee will provideleadership and direction for the entire school and theoutdoor lab.

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    Committee ChairpersonNameAddress

    PhoneTitleSpecial Interests

    Sub-committee Role

    Committee MemberNameAddress

    PhoneTitleSpecial Interest

    Sub-committee Role

    Committee MemberNameAddress

    PhoneTitleSpecial Interest

    Sub-committee Role

    Committee MemberNameAddress

    PhoneTitleSpecial Interest

    Sub-committee Role

    OUTDOOR LAB COMMITTEE WORKSHEET

    Committee Vice-ChairpersonNameAddress

    PhoneTitleSpecial Interests

    Sub-committee Role

    Committee MemberNameAddress

    PhoneTitleSpecial Interest

    Sub-committee Role

    Committee MemberNameAddress

    PhoneTitleSpecial Interest

    Sub-committee Role

    Committee MemberNameAddress

    PhoneTitleSpecial Interest

    Sub-committee Role

  • 7

    PROMOTION AND FUNDRAISING

    Working With the Media

    It is important that your committee provide the media withnews releases about outdoor lab developments and specialprojects. This will help your committee gain public supportand encouragement, and can extend awareness andappreciation of environmental issues in the community.Dont forget to publicize your activities in a schoolnewsletter, slide show, hallway display and other meanswithin your own local school community of teachers, parentsand students.

    It is suggested that at least two people on the outdoor labcommittee be responsible for media and public relations.Here are some suggested guidelines:

    1. Make parent-teacher organizations aware of proposedprojects and get them involved monetarily and physicallywith the projects.

    2. Send home flyers with children explaining proposedprojects and ask for parent involvement.

    3. Send flyers or call/visit adjacent landowners to schoolgrounds to explain projects and their purposes.

    4. Contact local media about being at your all day work/construction sessions or big planting days with children.Prepare and send a media information packet in advance.

    5. On days you expect the media, have a fact sheet explainingwhat you are doing that day and why. Be specific about thefeatures of the outdoor classroom and try to have childrenworking, if possible.

    6. Make yourself available for service group luncheon ormeeting presentations

    Funding Sources for Outdoor Labs

    Very seldom do we get something for nothing. This is alsotrue for outdoor labs. The costs involved with outdoor labsvary from a few dollars to several thousand dollarsdepending upon the desires of the outdoor lab committee.Cost should not be a determining factor when planning youroutdoor lab.

    Your outdoor lab committee should have a subcommittee tooversee funding of the outdoor lab. The subcommittee willneed to be creative and confident when pursuing funds forthe outdoor lab. While grant writing skills are certainlyhelpful, the most important ingredients for successfulfundraising are persistence and a clearly expressed vision.

    Suggestions for Pursuing Funds

    To gather funds for an outdoor lab you will need some typeof wish list of items for your outdoor lab. This list of itemswill result in forming a budget and timetable. Once this hasbeen developed you are ready to begin a fund drive. Onesuggestion when approaching organizations or individuals formoney is that most are competing with each other forrecognition. If you can secure funds from one group, youhave cleared a major obstacle. When you approach othersources of funds let them know you have committed fundsand identify who has given them. The competition betweengroups may swing the decision in your favor. It will pay youto start fund raising with a sure thing such as a group orindividual that has previously given to the school.Remember to tell them exactly what you want, how much itcosts and how you will use it to benefit the students. Youmay be more successful if you ask for portions of the fundsinstead of asking for everything from one source.

    A List of Possible Funding Sources

    School PTA Individual Schools Budget School Corporation Board Local Service Clubs and Organizations Local Conservation Clubs Local Businesses Corporations Fundraising Dinners Local Foundations Soil and Water Conservation District County Farm Bureau Group State of Indiana Rural Endowment Program (Contact Indiana Department of Commerce) Bake Sales Raffles Collect Recyclable Products

    When a group gives you funds, give them some publicitywhether it be a sign in the lab, newspaper article or just wordof mouth. They will appreciate and remember it next timeyou ask for something.

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    Curriculum/Activities

    1. The Young Naturalist by Andrew Mitchell2. The Berenstain Bears Nature Guide by Stan and Jan Berenstain3. Tips and Tricks in Outdoor Education by Malcolm Swan4. Sharing Nature With Children by Joseph Cornell5. Growing Up Green by Skelsey and Huckaby6. Dover Coloring Book Series by Dover Publications, NY,NY7. Nature Scope by the National Wildlife Federation8. Project Learning Tree, Project WILD and Project WET, contact the Indiana Department of Natural Resources9. Outdoor Areas As Learning Laboratories: A CESI Sourcebook compiled by Alan J. McCormack, Eric Clearinghouse for Science, Mathematics and Environmental Education, Ohio State University College of Education

    10. Greening School Grounds: Creating Habitats for Learning, edited by Tim Grand and Gail Littlejohn, Green Teacher, Lewiston, NY

    References:

    1. Fruit & Twig Key by William Harlow2. Garden Pools by Sunset Books3. Find the Constellations by H. A. Rey4. Reading the Woods by Vinson Brown5. Reading the Outdoors At Night by Vinson Brown6. A Guide To Nature In Winter by Stokes7. The Reasons For Seasons by Linda Allison8. Golden Field Guide Series9. Finder Guides by Nature Study Guild, Box 972, Berkley, CA 94701

    10. Prairie Primer by Stan Nichols and Lynn Entine, University of Wisconsin, Publ. -6-2736 11. Peterson Field Guide Series 12. Brooklyn Botanical Garden Handbook Series, 1000 Washington Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11225 13. Woodworking for Wildlife, Minnesota DNR, 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul, MN 55155 14. Landscaping for Wildlife, Minnesota DNR, 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul, MN 55155

    Resources:

    1. Bullfrog Films, Inc., Aley, PA 195472. Outdoor Products and Programs, P. O. Box 1492, Oxford, MS 386553. Nasco Supply Co., 901 Janesville Avenue, Fort Atkinson, WI 535384. Schoolmasters Science Supply, 745 State Circle, Box 1941, Ann Arbor, MI 481065. American Camping Association Catalog and Book Store, Bradford Woods, Martinsville, IN 461516. Forestry Suppliers, 205 West Rankin, P. O. Box 8397, Jackson, MS 39204-0397

    REFERENCE MATERIALS

  • 9

    PLANT MATERIAL LISTS

    WINDBREAKS AND SCREENS:

    EVERGREEN:

    White PineRed PineNorway SpruceArborvitae

    CLIPPED HEDGES:

    Corneliancherry DogwoodWashington HawthornAmerican HornbeamCanada HemlockCarolina HemlockHedge Maple

    WILDLIFE PLANTS:

    DogwoodsMountain AshFirethornRussian OliveSunflowerElderberryHighbush CranberryBlueberryCrabapplesServiceberry

    SHRUBS FOR WET AREAS:

    ServiceberryButton BushShrub DogwoodAmerican CranberryWillowBlack Alder

    TREES FOR FALL COLOR:

    Sweet Gum (crimson to purple)Serviceberry (orange to red)Norway Maple (orange)Ash (yellow to purple)Black Gum (bright red)Cherry (yellow)Dogwood (crimson)Eastern Redbud (bronze to yellow)Purple Leaf Plum (purple)Red or Black Oak (red to brown)Tulip Tree (yellow)Sugar Maple (orange)

    DECIDUOUS:

    LilacRussian OliveHighbush CranberryViburnumPrivetBottlebrush Horse Chestnut

    SENSORY PLANTS:

    Saucer MagnoliaCommon Witch-hazelWooley Lambs EarChivesAnise HysopLemon BalmLavenderLemon and Purple BasilScented GeraniumsSagePineapple Sage

    SHRUBS FOR DRY AREAS:

    BarberryWitch-hazelNine BarkNannyberryYucca

    ACCENT TREES AND SHRUBS:

    Snowdrift CrabappleJapanese MapleCommon SmoketreeInkberry HollyGingkoGolden Rain TreeSaucer MagnoliaRhododendron P. J.M. HybridStar Magnolia

    VINE:Trumpet CreeperPink Japanese WisteriaChinese WisteriaOriental BittersweetOctober ClematisEnglish IvyGrapeHenryi Honeysuckle

  • 10

    PLANT MATERIAL LISTS

    GROUND COVERS:

    Creeping CotoneasterWintercreeper EuonymusBlue Rug Creeping JuniperCranberry CotoneasterJapanese SpurgeCreeping Blue PhloxLambs EarHostas

    THORNY SHRUBS (for barrier):

    Russian OliveFirethornBlack RaspberryTrifoliate OrangeFlowering QuinceOregon Grape HollyBlackthorn

    COLORFUL FRUIT SHRUBS:

    CotoneasterFirethorn (red)Evergreen Privet (blue - black)Snowberry (white)Wintercreeper (orange)Koreanspice Viburnum (red - black)

    SHRUBS FOR WET AREAS:ServiceberryButton BushShrub DogwoodAmerican CranberryWillow

    TREES WITH INTERESTING OR COLORFUL BARK (for winter interest):American BeechBlue BeechHackberryShagbark HickoryPaper BirchRiver BirchCherryYellow - Twig Dogwood

    Red - Twig DogwoodWeeping WillowCommon HornbeamRed Snake - Bark MapleSycamoreScotch PineBald Cypress

    NATIVE PLANTS:

    These groups and organizations offer a wealth of informationabout native plants:

    Indiana Native Plant and Wildflower Society3134 Greenbriar LaneNashville, IN 47448-8279http://www.inpaws.org

    IDNR, Division of Nature Preserves402 W. Washington Street, W267Indianapolis, IN 46204317/232-4052

    The Nature Conservancy, Indiana ChapterWest 38th StreetIndianapolis, IN 46208-4103317/923-7547

    Wild Ones - Natural Landscapers, Ltd.http://www.epa.gov/greenacres

    Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Centerhttp://www.wildflower.org

    Recommended Reading:

    The Gardeners Encyclopedia of Wildflowers by C. Colston Burrell; Rodale Press, 1997

    Go Native! Gardening with Native Plants and Wildflowers inthe Lower Midwest by Carolyn Harstad; Indiana University Press, 1999

    Landscaping with Native Trees by Guy Sternberg; Chapters Pub Ltd., 1996

    The Natural Habitat Garden by Ken Druse; Clarkson Potter, 1994

  • 11

    MAINTENANCE

    A good maintenance program is essential to both the initialand long term success of your outdoor classroom. It isimportant that at least two people from the outdoor classroomcommittee have primary responsibility of designing amaintenance plan for various features of the outdoorclassroom. Be sure to involve a key member of your schoolsbuilding and grounds staff in your maintenance plan. Eachplan should list what the short and long term maintenancerequirements are and who will be responsible for each.Unnecessary maintenance can be kept at a minimum bykeeping development or special project plans simple. If itcant be easily maintained, you may want to reconsiderdeveloping it.

    JANUARY

    Keep all bird feeders full Prune deciduous trees and shrubs

    FEBRUARY

    Keep all bird feeders full Burn prairie - Late February, March, and April before green-up of plants

    MARCH

    Clean out bird nest boxes of unwanted birds Check all structures for winter damage Keep all bird feeders full

    APRIL

    Reinstall pump in pond Check around pond for damage or areas where liner is exposed Clean up plant beds Apply herbicide treatments around trees or in areas where trees are to be planted Fertilize trees and shrubs Plant trees and shrubs Take down snow fence Spray fruit trees as needed; follow label directions

    MAY

    Till perch nplot, horticulture plot, any other areas as needed Plant wildlife food plot, other herbaceous wildlife cover Plant horticulture and other plots Spray fruit trees as needed; follow label directions

    JUNE

    Weed horticulture and other plots Set out insect traps Spray fruit trees as needed; follow label directions Prune pines

    JULY

    Repaint, restain or repair all wooden structures as needed Check insect traps Weed horticulture and other plots

    AUGUST

    Check insect traps Weed horticulture and other plots

    SEPTEMBER

    Check insect traps Weed horticulture and other plots

    OCTOBER

    Pull up herb garden annuals, horticulture plot after frost Order trees for next spring Thin bulbs, corms and tubers Take down insect traps

    NOVEMBER Remove pump from pond Begin filling bird feeders Prune deciduous trees and shrubs Put up snow fence

    DECEMBER Keep all bird feeders full Prune deciduous trees and shrubs

    GENERAL MAINTENANCE AS NEEDED:

    Trail construction/repair Turn compost pile Mow grass Check water level in small ponds and add water as needed

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    FEATURES

    The following information is intended primarily as an idealist. While some specifications for construction areprovided, most are not. Such detail would make thispublication too lengthy, and for many features, there are anumber of right ways to construct them. Consult with localnatural resource or construction specialists when planningfeatures.

    Animal Tracking Plot

    Even an urban area is frequented by many species ofwildlife each day. Birds, mice, squirrels, rabbits, opossum,raccoons and even deer can find themselves at home in thecity. Whether your school is located in a rural or urban area,an animal tracking plot can yield some interesting tracks tostudy. An area about 3 feet by 3 feet or larger is all that isneeded to create this feature. The area should be cleared ofall grass or other vegetation and filled with clay. Permanent tracks for comparison can be provided bypouring a 3 feet by 3 feet concrete pad next to the trackingplot. Before the concrete hardens, make various tracks in theconcrete using either rubber or plaster casts of tracks. Thesecan be purchased through biological supply companies. Food scraps, grain or other bait should then be placednear the plot regularly to attract wildlife to the area. Thenight before your students are to study the tracks, moisten theclay so it is soft enough to leave a clear impression by theanimals. Students may be surprised at the variety ofcritters right in their own back yard.

    Arboretum

    Did you ever want to take your class to a woods where youwould be able to find a wide variety of tree species? Plant anarboretum now and in a few years you will have such awoods right on your school grounds! An arboretum is simply a woods where many differentspecies of trees occur or have been planted. Once planted,the area can be left to grow up to look more like a naturalwoods, or can be mowed and kept as more of a formalarboretum. In either case, signs should be put up throughoutthe area identifying each tree, its characteristics and uses. To get your arboretum established, the area where trees areto planted should be cleared mechanically or with herbicideto reduce competition from other vegetation. The plantingarea should be laid out just as any tree plantation, allowingeach tree adequate space for growth. Seedlings may bepurchased at a nominal cost through the Indiana Division ofForestrys state nurseries. Planning assistance for your treeplantation can be obtained from your District Forester.

    Archaeological Dig Site

    This is an area where students can learn the techniques usedin archaeological digs, while unearthing planted artifacts.Such an activity can also be tied into historical studies andsoils investigations. While an archaeological dig site isintended as a way of introducing students to the fascinatingstudy of archaeology, it must be impresses upon students thatactual sites of historical or archaeological significance (siteshaving artifacts 50 years of age or older) and all prehistoricsites are protected by law and must not be disturbed. Formore information, contact the Indiana DNRDivision ofHistoric Preservation and Archaeology.

    Berry Producing Shrubs

    For quick growth, beautiful color, wildlife food and cover,erosion control and general outdoor studies, its hard to beatberry producing shrubs. Many shrubs, when planted as seedlings will quickly obtaina height of six to eight feet in four to five years. Due to theirsmaller size at maturity, shrubs can be spaced closer togetherthan trees. Six feet apart is usually adequate. Purple willow, amur honeysuckle, shrub dogwood,highbush cranberry and japonica lespedeza are examples ofshrubs suitable for outdoor classroom planting. Small treessuch as flowering crabapple, flowering dogwood,Washington hawthorne and redbud are also recommended.Before planting be sure to know what kind of soil and otherlimitations the shrub species may have. Plant in clumps orrows preferably near your food plots and herbaceousplantings of grasses and legumes. Inexpensive tree and shrubseedlings are available from the Indiana Department ofNatural Resources, Division of Forestry. Order blanks andprice lists can be obtained by calling your local districtforester or soil and water conservation district office.

    Bird Blind

    When observing birds near a feeder or around a pond ormarsh, wouldnt it be nice to be invisible? Perhaps the nextbest thing is to be hidden behind a bird blind. A simple woodframe structure covered with chicken wire serves as a goodfoundation to be covered with leaves and other naturaldebris, leaving a small area open for observation. Such aframe can be permanent or made with hinges to be folded andeasily moved.

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    FEATURES

    Bird Feeders

    Attracting songbirds to the school grounds is easilyaccomplished by establishing feeding stations around theschool. Cardinals, song sparrows, chickadees, nuthatchesand goldfinches are among the colorful visitors that frequentsuch wildlife diners. There are many different types offeeders commercially available, although it is easy toconstruct your own. If you establish feeders on your schoolsite, be sure they are kept supplied with food.

    Bulbs, Corms and Tubers

    Fall planting of bulbs, corms or tubers will result in manyyears of colorful spring flowers. Students can gain practicallandscaping experience by planning and managing their bulbgarden, and can improve math skills by calculating the rate atwhich their bulbs multiply each year.

    Butterfly Garden

    Colorful surroundings attract colorful visitors to outdoorlabs. Plantings of columbine, foxglove, asters, primrose,daisies and other bright wildflowers will provide yourstudents excellent habitat for observing or collecting manyspecies of butterflies and moths.

    Creek

    A creek can be a good area for students to observe andstudy many aquatic plants and animals. Throughout theschool year, students can measure and record stream flow.They can also test water quality for pH, temperature,dissolved oxygen, sediment load before and after storms, etc.If within the school budget, obtain some water testing kits. Most creeks meander due to silt and sediment bars that area result of soil erosion within the creeks watershed. Thisresults in streambank erosion as well. Students shoulddetermine the size of the creeks watershed and trace itscourse to larger watersheds. Plant berry producing shrubs and grain food plots parallelto the creek channel. Amur honeysuckle, purple willow,shrub dogwood, japonica lespedeza and the highbushcranberry are possible shrub plantings. Some brush piles andnesting boxes along the bank would also attract more wildlifeto the creek.

    Dinosaur Study Area

    Given a blacktop parking lot and a piece of chalk, studentscan begin learning about dinosaurs by drawing the life-sizedoutline of one. More detailed or elaborate studies can bemade by building life-sized or scale models of dinosaursusing a wood and screen skeleton and plaster, paper mache orgunnite exterior. Full scale nests of eggs and footprints canbe made, as well as a Trail of Time around the schoolgrounds. If one foot equals 160,000 years, it would be about1,500 feet back to the dawn of the dinosaurs, 400 feet to theirextinction, 30 feet to the first humans and of an inch to theend of the most recent Ice Age (which was 10,000 yearsago!)

    Existing Timber Stand

    A school woodlot can be used for studies in speciesidentification, population, watershed, forestry, wildlife andmany other educational opportunities. Many schoolwoodlots have not been actively managed, so are overstockedand hampered with vines. They are in need of timber standimprovement (TSI). TSI is a term used to identify variousmanagement practices used to improve vigor, stocking,composition, productivity and quality of forest stands. Talkto a forester about how TSI could be applied to your woods.

    Compost Pile

    Any school having a garden or horticulture plot should alsoconsider developing a compost pile. Leaves, grass clippings,kitchen scraps and other organic debris can be turned intonutrient-rich soil in a relatively short time. Commercialcompost bins can be purchased for a modest cost, or acompost area can be constructed for even less.

  • 14

    FEATURES

    Erosion Control Demonstration Area

    Our country has lost an alarming amount of topsoil becauseof erosion by wind and water. To demonstrate the effects oferosion and some measures used to control it, first select asite on your school grounds with a moderate slope. This canbe an area as small as about 10 feet wide. If a suitable slopedoes not exist, one can be created by mounding andcompacting soil in a hill about 3 to 4 feet high. Next, strip all grass and other vegetation from the area,leaving only bare soil exposed. Divide the area into threeequal parts and leave one portion alone, cover anothersection with rip rap (large stone) and plant a ground coversuch as crown vetch or grass in the final section. Nowstudents can study the effects of erosion on the bare soil,while seeing how effective the control measures are onhalting or minimizing erosion. To quantify how much erosion is taking place in eachsection; a collection pan can be installed at the base of eachsection to funnel runoff water and sediment into a container.The amount of sediment collected in each container can thenbe measured.

    Fence Row

    An old woody fence row is one of the best outdoorclassrooms you can find. Often a fence row is an undisturbedarea. In other words, it is unlikely that a plow or dozer bladehas ever turned its soil. This makes an old fence row avaluable soil study area. Its also a good place to finddiscarded junk from years gone by, leading to historicalinterpretation. Students should study the types of vegetation and animalsthey find in the fence row. Are there any trees that haveactually grown around the fence wire? A fence row is a goodwildlife travel lane and is a fine location to place nestingboxes, food plots, brushpiles and shrub

    Fossil Path

    Establishing a fossil path gives students the opportunity tostudy forms of life no longer existing. Students arefascinated with fossils and how they are formed. Such afeature can lead to studies of history, exercises in languagearts or art projects dealing with natural shapes and patterns.

    Grasses Plots

    Have you ever tried to establish grass cover in an area tomatch an existing lawn, only to find that it is a different coloror grows at a different rate? There are so many varieties ofgrass seed on the market, each with its own growthcharacteristics. Establishing a plot of several different grasstypes allows students to learn what the different grasses looklike and where each is best used.

    Groundwater Monitoring Hole

    This will provide students with an opportunity to see howthe groundwater table fluctuates throughout the year. Ifrecorded on a regular basis, a graph can be charted to showthe monthly and seasonal levels of fluctuation. If your schoolsite has more than one soil type, your students will be able tocompare their findings for each soil. Your county soil survey(available free through your county USDA Natural ResoucesConservation Service) will indicate the location of these soilsand their expected water tables. To make a groundwater monitoring hole, use post holediggers or an auger and dig a hole five to six feet deep. Takea piece of PVC pipe and drill numerous one-eighth inch holesin it. Place the pipe in the hole to prevent the soil fromcaving in, and cap the top of the pipe with a PVC cap. Use acalibrated stick to take the measurements of the groundwaterlevel.

    EROSIONCONTROLDEMONSTRATIONAREA

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    FEATURES

    Herb Garden

    A small area of the school grounds can be designated as anherb garden. This area can be located within a schoolcourtyard, along a sidewalk next to the school building orjust about anywhere there is a little space and sunlight.Herbs used for cooking and those with alleged medicinalqualities can be grown for study.

    Herbaceous Wildlife Plantings

    Herbaceous cover plantings of legumes such as sweetclover, red clover, alfalfa, and grasses such as orchardgrass,timothy and bluegrass are excellent ways of attracting smallwildlife to your school site. Herbaceous plantings can be planted in strips fifteen totwenty feet wide in a fallow area of the school grounds.Strips can be spaced to alternate and allow strips of naturalvegetation to grow in between. There are many good educational reasons for plantingherbaceous cover. Students will see and study more wildlifethat feed and nest in the strips. Bees, butterflies, beetles andother kinds of insects will be found. Students will learn toidentify and recognize characteristics of various grass andlegume cover crops. Planting requires good seedbed preparation andfertilization. Planting dates, where to obtain seed and otherinformation may be obtained from your local soil and waterconservation district office.

    Horticulture Demonstration and Test Plots

    Measure a grid of small 10 x 10 plots. These plots can beused for various agricultural crop demonstrations, groundcovers, grasses, etc. The plots can also be used for chemicaltesting, water testing, erosion studies, etc.

    Native American Theme Area

    A courtyard or little nooksomewhere on the schoolgrounds can easily bedeveloped into an Indian studyarea. Indian corn, sweet corn,gourds and wildflowers can becultivated. A fire pit and even asmall wigwam might beconstructed on the site. Ifflint is available in your area,arrowheads or other toolscould be fashioned andused by students(following all safetyprecautions, of course).

    Insect Traps

    It seems the only time we think about insects is when theyare bothering us. But the insect kingdom is a fascinating,seemingly endless, one. So that students might learn moreabout these interesting creatures, insect traps can be used tocollect them. Depending upon the types of insects to becollected, traps can range from a mashed banana placed in ajar to a commercially purchased insect trap containing a sexpheromone to attract a specific insect from great distances.In addition to learning about the body structure and habits ofthe insects collected, students can also develop math skills byestimating local populations of a given insect.

    Lath Structure

    Growing shade-loving plants can be a problem if yourschool was built on former crop land and the nearest shadetree is in the next county. A simple way to solve this problemis to construct a lath structure. Using lath (strips of woodabout inch thick and 1 to 2 inches wide) attached to asupport frame, partial shade can be given to plants. Analternative to nailing lath to a support is to lay snow fencingover the support frame.

    Marsh

    Does your school have any wet areas on the schoolgrounds? Most school sites do have a few. These poorlydrained areas can be very difficult for maintenance crews tomow and nearly useless as a playground or athletic field.These troublesome wet spots are often very capable of beingdeveloped into natures most productive wildlife and outdoorlearning area: a marsh. If properly developed, a marsh should have 25 percent ofits area excavated to a depth of about three feet and theremaining 75 percent less than three feet deep. This willencourage growth of cattails, bulrushes, sedges, reeds,arrowhead and many other aquatic plants. Wildlife biologistsalso recommend planting wildlife food plants such as millet,buckwheat, grain sorghum or corn. Shrub dogwood, amurhoneysuckle and purple willow are good wildlife shrubs toplant around your marsh.

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    FEATURES

    Milled Sawlog

    What happens to a log after it leaves the woods? How dowe end up with lumber in the dimensions of2 by 4 or 2 by6? If you have a sawmill near your community, see if theymight be willing to saw a small log into lumber, then tie itback together and loan or donate it to your school. The resultshows very graphically how dimensional lumber comes froma log.

    Natures Swap Shop

    A small area can be established where students areencouraged to donate interesting items of nature (galls,bones, rocks, etc.) and in turn, may take home any items thatcapture their interest. Ideally each student making awithdrawal will also make a donation; realistically, the supplymay have to be replenished periodically. Either way, thepurpose of the swap shop has been served if the studentscuriosity and interest are stimulated. This feature may belocated indoors or outdoors, and could even be made as aportable feature.

    Nesting Boxes

    Artificial nesting boxes can be built by students and placedin various locations on your school grounds. This will attractmore wildlife, and allow students to observe and studynesting characteristics of small animals. A wildlife biologist can provide specifications andinformation on what kinds of nesting boxes to build for yourarea. Wooded fence rows, grassy meadows, forested areasand the banks of ponds and creeks are good locations fornesting boxes. Hollow trees, old fence posts and burrows inthe ground can be existing natural nesting sites. Old, deadtrees (called den trees) not in danger of falling on astructure are good to leave for wildlife nesting. When considering nesting boxes, keep other animalsbesides birds in mind. Nesting structures for squirrels, batsand ground nesting mammals are also easily constructed.

    Orchard

    Here is an opportunity to teach students about JohnnyAppleseed, fruit tree management and cooking skills, whilepossibly raising money for the outdoor lab. An orchard alsoprovides beautiful, fragrant blossoms in the spring. Withmany dwarf varieties of fruit trees available, an orchardneednt require a great deal of land. It will require a greatdelay of year-round work, however. So if you plan todevelop an orchard, be sure to make provisions for seasonalpruning, spraying and harvesting.

    Ornamental Flower Beds

    Whether in an urban or rural environment, mosthomeowners appreciate the beauty, fragrance and color thatflower beds add to their home landscape. Students shouldhave the opportunity to learn how to cultivate and care forornamental plants, including flowers and shrubs.Establishing an ornamental flower bed affords students thisopportunity, while beautifying the school grounds. Studentscan feel a real sense of accomplishment and pride in theirschool grounds. If there are areas along the building thatsunlight seldom reaches, a shade tolerant flower bed can beestablished.

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    FEATURES

    Outdoor Seating Area

    A seating area may range from a nice amphitheater orshelter house to a simple circle of telephone poles or railroadties. One of the simplest and least expensive benches ismade by erecting two 4 by 4 treated posts and placing atreated (not creosoted) 2 x 10 board across the top and acouple of braces as shown below.

    Perch n Plant

    Have you ever wondered how so many trees start growingalong fences? This simple feature allows students theopportunity to see a fencerow develop and learn how thetrees got there. Clear all vegetation on a strip of land about 3 feet wide andat least 10 feet long. (You may have better results if the areais also worked up with a rototiller.) Erect a fence post ateach end and stretch a cable between the posts. As birdsbegin perching on the cable, their droppings will beplanting many different types of seeds. Students may evenwish to keep a log of what species of birds they haveobserved on the cable and what types of plants begin growingunder it, to learn what foods the birds prefer.

    Pond

    A pond on the school site can provide some excellentopportunities for students to observe and study aquatic plantsand animals. Ponds also provide students with firsthandexperience in managing water resource problems andsolutions. If the pond is acre or larger and has a minimum depth of8 feet over 25 percent of the area or a minimum of 6 feetover 50 percent of the area, it can probably support a healthyfish population of bluegill, largemouth bass and channelcatfish. For ponds less than acre, biologists suggeststocking channel catfish fingerlings only at 500 to 1,000 peracre. A soil conservationist or fishery biologist can advisehow to properly stock and manage your pond. Transplant a variety of aquatic plants around yourshoreline for more diversity. Wildlife biologists alsorecommend planting a variety of trees, shrubs, legumes andgrasses around the pond area to attract more wildlife. If your school does not have a pond but is interested inconstructing one, consult with your local soilconservationist. He or she can investigate the feasibility of apond site on your school grounds. Keep in mind that a pondfor learning can be as small as a shallow reflecting pool,teaming with live microscopic specimens. If a deeper pond isdesired, the schools liability insurance should be checked tosee what additional precautions are needed.

    Prairie Plot

    At one time, prairies covered portions of Indiana. Whileremnants of these prairies still exist in the state, relatively fewpeople have the opportunity to study these areas or evenrecognize prairie plants. A small prairie area can beestablished by clearing all vegetation from the site andplanting prairie seed. It takes many prairie species more thanone year to germinate, so be patient. Each year the plotshould be cleared, preferably by burning if safe to do so. Ifnot, mowing or clearing by hand should suffice.

    Road

    A road or parking lot is a good place for students to studyhow surface water runoff leaves pavement. Students shouldlearn why drain culverts are placed in certain locations (lowpoints) and why culvert sizes are often in different diameters. Is there any erosion of soil where water leaves the hardsurfaces? After studying the drainage, examine how naturalresources were used to make any paved surfaces. Are thereany cracks caused by freezing and thawing, or shrinking andswelling of the soil as it becomes wet and dry?

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    Signs

    At first glance, an outdoor lab sometimes looks like ahodge-podge of strange structures and random plantings.When visitors come to the school, a much more favorableimpression would be made if they could read interpretiveinformation about the outdoor lab and its features. Smallsigns explaining each part of the outdoor lab also helpsfamiliarize students and new teachers to the lab and itspurpose. A large sign near an entrance to the lab can providegeneral information about the lab, as well as designating thearea for educational use.

    Snow Fence Demonstration

    What can you do in an outdoor lab when students return toschool after a snow day? If you have some snow fenceserected, students can observe the effects that the fence had ondrifting and measure snow depth at various distances fromthe fence. Snow fence is used in several states extensively tolimit drifting on highways. Blowing snow will hit the fenceand be deposited on the other side, thus positioning the driftin a limited area. After some experimentation, students mayfind areas around the school drive or parking lot that wouldbenefit by some seasonal fencing.

    Soil Studies

    Dirt is what you sweep off the floor or wash from yourhands. Soil is a precious natural resource. This differenceshould be recognized by your students before any other formof soil study is undertaken. Students should become familiar with your county soilsurvey. Using the information in the survey, determine thelocation and various characteristics of the soils found on yourschool grounds. A soil testing area on each of the soil typesshould be established. Students should carefully examine thesoil, layer by layer, starting at the surface and observing thetypes of vegetation growing there. There are many good soil testing kits available for purchasefrom school supply catalogs. Try to obtain some of these. Avery useful booklet titled Teaching Soil and WaterConservation, A Classroom and Field Guide, PA 341 isavailable from your county soil and water conservationdistrict office.

    Solar/Wind Energy Demonstration

    As human population continues to expand, developingcreative sources of energy is more critical. Setting up smallscale demonstrations of solar and wind energy generationwill make students aware of alternatives to fossil fuels, andperhaps even generate enough energy to power other featuresin the outdoor lab.

    FEATURES

    Rock Pile, Geological Studies

    Start a rock pile of large rocks that are too heavy to bethrown. Have students bring in samples from vacations oraround their homes. Place the rocks in a pile along a fencerow, creek bank or other area out of the way of mowers.Aside from studying geology, rocks can be used in math tostudy weights, mass, volume and geometric shapes, and canbe used in art for varying textures, colors and shapes.

    Sensory Discovery Area

    This is an excellent area for primary students, allowingthem to explore with all of their senses. Many plants withstrong fragrances, brilliant colors or unusual textures can beestablished in this area. Other natural objects such as rocks,tree bark, seed pods, or furs can be used to expand sensoryawareness. Using herbs and other edible plants, students cansafely taste some of Mother Natures offerings.

    Shelter

    Not many school outdoor labs have the luxury of a buildingin which to hold class. Aside from providing shelter frominclement weather, a building also provides a place fordisplays and other educational materials. Schools have madeuse of many different types of structures including log cabins,open picnic shelters, old barns, maple sugar shacks andgreenhouses. If a shelter is not financially feasible, a smallstorage building should be considered for storing tools orother materials to be used in the outdoor lab.

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    FEATURES

    Time Capsule

    Its fun to look at momentos from the past, particularlywhen those items have some personal significance. Clues towhat was news, what was popular and who you were can berediscovered when placed in a time capsule to be openedyears later. For example, kindergarten students might placenews clippings, school photographs, popular toys, audio orvideo tapes and other treasures in a time capsule to beopened when they graduate from elementary or high school.

    Trail

    An established foot trail is a good way to prevent studentsfrom trampling over tree seedlings, ground nesting animalsand vegetation with low tolerance for foot traffic. Muchplanning is required before establishing a trail system.Topography, soil types, drainage, vegetation and obstaclesare some of the consideration to be made, as well as routingthe trail to all points of interest. Trails should be surfaced with woodchips or stone toreduce soil compaction and for ease of walking. (Woodchipsare often available free of charge through local electriccompanies.) Access over or through wet areas should beprovided by constructing foot bridges and boardwalks, andslopes along the trail should be protected from erosion byusing water bars, dips or retaining structures. Any posts placed in the ground along trails should beanchored in concrete at least two feet in the ground. Allwood should be chemically treated to prevent decay, and thetops of all posts should be cut off at a slant so they will shedwater.

    Tree Cross Sections

    People record accounts of history in books or on film;Mother Nature uses trees! The cross section of a tree can tella great deal about that trees personal history (fires, lightningstrikes, insects and diseases, competition from other trees,etc.), and can tell much about weather conditions of pastyears. Students can also use a tree cross section as acalendar, marking significant events in history by the rings ofthe tree. Comparing the trees diameter in various years is agood way for students to visualize the trees rate of growth.

    Sound Tubes An outdoor lab can be used for far more than the study ofnature. For example, students can investigate the nature ofsound by creating sound tubes. These are constructed bytaking several varying lengths of PVC pipe that are eachapproximately 4 inches in diameter, cutting one end of eachat a 45 degree angle, and installing them vertically in theground with the 45 degree cut end at the top. A 3-inch hole iscut in each pipe about 3 feet above the ground. As windblows across the tops of these pipes, each will produce asound, the tone of which will vary with the length of pipe.Students can place their ears to the hole of each pipe to hearthe sound. Science teachers can use this feature to discussthe creation of sound and why the pipes length affects thesound tone. Music teachers can relate these sound tubes tothe many musical instruments that operate on the principle ofair passing across varying lengths of tube to create sound.

    Storage Building

    While a storage building is not necessary for all outdoorlabs, it can certainly save time if the lab is located somedistance from the school building. The building need not belarge just a dry, secure place to store shovels, hoes, weatherinstruments, soil probes, dip nets and any other itemsfrequently used.

    Succession Areas

    By not mowing selected areas of your school site, a greaterdiversity of plants and plant maturity will occur. Thisprocess of gradual (and predictable) replacement of onecommunity of plants and animals by another is referred to assuccession. Students can observe and record the varioussuccessional stages that will occur. A succession plot shouldbe regularly monitored and any noxious weeds eliminated.

    Sundial

    Very ornate sundials can be purchased, or students canmake their own using simple materials like cardboard orwood. Either way, a sundial opens the door to studying inearths movements, angles and historical aspects of keepingtime.

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    FEATURES

    Tree Plantation

    Trees are renewable resources; in a very real sense, they are acrop. Tree farms or plantations are providing more and moretimber to meet the wood product demands of a growingpopulation. Tree plantations of black walnut, white oak, ashand many other species are planted for their highly prizedlumber. Tree plantations of black locust are planted asenergy acres for their excellent firewood potential. Treeplantations of Scotch and white pine are planted forChristmas trees. Plant a tree plantation on your school grounds. Dependingupon the allocated space for such a project, a school couldrealize considerable profits from this inexpensive investment.Christmas trees are harvestable after about seven years, blacklocust firewood after about fifteen and hardwood sawlogplantations after thirty years or more. Students can learn a great deal about forest managementtechniques from their involvement with a tree plantation.Even if you only have a small area students could stillestablish a demonstration plot of various tree species forobservation and study.

    Tree Seedling Nursery

    Planting trees on your school grounds is a great experiencefor children; but some of those trees are likely to die withinthe first few years. Establishing a small tree seedling nurseryallows you to replace those trees with others of similar size.It also affords students the opportunity to learn about how togerminate tree seed, care for seedlings and transplant largertrees.

    Watering Hole

    Because of increased liability pressures placed on schools,it is sometimes not feasible to build a pond. Many of thesame benefits of having a large pond can also be obtained byconstructing a small, shallow watering hole for wildlife. Thisstructure can be as small as a childs wading pool and stillsupport abundant life from aquatic plants andmicroorganisms to tadpoles and minnows. If located near theschool building where electricity is available, a small pumpcan be used to create a waterfall and circulate the water.

    Weather Station

    Even schools with very little space can probably find roomto establish a small weather station. Students can keeprecords of temperature, rainfall, barometric pressure,windspeed, direction, etc. Weather instruments are availablethrough school science supply catalogs. Instrument costs willvary, and some simple instruments can be made by students.Weather stations with more sophisticated equipment shouldprobably be fenced for protection.

    Whisper Tube Without the interference of other sounds or the dissipatingeffect of open space, it is amazing how far sound can travel.To demostrate this with students, take a garden hose that is atleast 50 feet in length. Insert a funnel to each end of the hoseand secure them with duct tape. A student whispering in oneend of the hose will be easily heard by a student listening atthe other end. Allow students to experiment by connectingadditional lengths of hose, or running the hose partiallyaround the school building.

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    Wildflower Plot

    Wildflowers not only addan attractive atmosphereand aroma to an area, butalso can be used to producedyes for fabric or paints.Areas of full sunlight ortotal shade can both be usedto establish plantings ofwildflowers. Wildflowersalso attract many species ofinsect and birds for study.

    Wildlife Brushpiles

    Fallen or pruned limbs and even discarded Christmas treescan all be useful building material for wildlife brushpiles.Brushpiles are like natural magnets when it comes toattracting wildlife. Piles should be at least 12 feet indiameter and 5 feet high to be effective.

    Wildlife Food Plots of Grains

    Planting strips of grains such as corn, sorghum, soybeans,buckwheat, rye, wheat, etc. can provide a good food andcover source for wildlife and expanded learning experiencesfor students. A typical food plot would be about 10 feet wide andperhaps 100 feet in length. Plant the food plots in alternatingstrips or parallel to a fence row, wooded edge or creek bank.If you are planting on sloping ground, plant in contour rows. Allow the grain to stand over the winter to provide goodcover for rabbits, birds and other small animals. Plant avariety of the different grains so students will be able toobserve and study them. A food plot requires good seedbed preparation. Consult witha soil conservationist or wildlife biologist for recommendedseeds, planting dates, seedbed preparation, etc.

    Windbreaks of Tree and Shrub Plantings

    If raw, winter blasts of cold winds blow across your schoolgrounds, plant a living windbreak of trees and shrubs. Due toprevailing wind directions, windbreaks should be plantedalong north and west boundaries. There are several speciesof trees used for windbreak plantings, most commonly whiteand red pine, Norway spruce or northern white cedar. Treesshould be planted on a 12 X 12 spacing, and rows of treesstaggered. If spacing permits, a row of shrubs should beplnated on the windward side of the windbreak. Blackchokeberry, shrub dogwood, or ninebark are all excellentshrub species to use, providing fast growth and food forwildlife.

    Wood Decay Test Site

    Any wood will eventually decay. But some decay muchfaster than others, and various treatments to wood can delaydecay for many years. To construct a wood decay test site,first obtain small, equally sized pieces of cedar, locust,redwood and treated and untreated pine. Mark the date oneach piece, weigh each then bury them all to an equal depth.Repeat this procedure each year, keeping records of allweights. After about 5 years (possibly longer, depending onwood and ground conditions), remove the first yearssamples, clean them thoroughly and place them in the sun orin an oven on a low setting until they are completely dry.Weigh all of the samples and compare with their originalweights. By repeating this process each year, there willalways be a set of wood samples to compare after the initial 5years.

    Woodland Clearing/Regeneration Area

    Trees, like corn or soybeans, are a crop. They grow to maturityand, if left to continue growing, will eventually decline anddie. The intent of forest management is to encourage the growthof tall, straight, healthy trees as quickly as possible to beharvested at maturity. Once a mature tree is removed,regeneration of new trees can begin because the mature tree isno longer taking nutrients and sunlight from surroundingsaplings. This process allows for the perpetuation of a healthy,productive forest. If your school has a woods, consider clearing groups of treesin a quarter to half-acre area. Such a clearing will allow for theregeneration of many beneficial species of trees, as well asproviding wildlife with improved herbaceous food and cover.

    FEATURES

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