Heartlands Construction Technology Students volunteered side-by-side with Montcalm County Habitat for Humanity Volunteers to construct 10 flip-top benches and 2 work tables that will provide the basic set up for the Outdoor Learning Lab at the H.O. Steele Education Center.
This was a Global Youth Service Day project to supported by Montcalm Ionia Greenhouse Environmental Feeding Solutions and grant provided by State Farm. The Outdoor Learning Lab will be available for classrooms and service groups to teach lessons with a hands-on approach in a nature environment. This area provides a flexible outdoor area where students can gather around 2 taller workstations in groups, sit on benches for a presentation, or flip the back of the bench up for a writing or project surface.
This project used 27 volunteers for a combined total of 54 volunteer hours proving once again, that by working together we can accomplish great tasks. The students enjoyed a field trip away from the classroom, while the Senior Habitat Volunteers enjoyed sharing their skills with a new generation.
Near the Outdoor Learning Lab there will soon be the IM Kids Community Garden containing a 40 foot by 40 foot in ground garden area and two 10 foot by 10 foot raised garden beds. These gardens will contain a wide variety of produce including items for harvest as early as June. Available lesson plans will include seed starting, garden planning, routine care including developing a water & weeding schedule and many more learning opportunities. Also surrounding the Outdoor Learning Lab are various types of trees and wildlife that can be integrated into lesson plans. At one time there was a walking path through the woods leading to a small pond. We are working on plans with a few Eagle Scouts to determine what it would take to re-open this nature trail for use and plans to involve the S.T.E.M Summer Camp in activities including a field trip to assemble duck houses to be placed around the pond.