Accolades for Lawrence County Signature School: On Friday, November 3, at 10:30 a.m., Lawrence County Signature School is set to make history as the first school in Lawrence County to achieve certification as an official Outdoor Classroom School through the Alabama Wildlife Federation (AWF) Alabama Outdoor Classroom Program.
The school will also receive Schoolyard Wildlife Habitat certification from the National Wildlife Federation during the certification ceremony. This recognition positions them as a model for other schools in Lawrence County and across Alabama interested in establishing outdoor classrooms and schoolyard wildlife habitats, fostering hands-on, inquiry-based learning opportunities for students.
The Outdoor Classroom Certification Ceremony by AWF will feature the presentation of an official Alabama Outdoor Classroom certification sign and an Outdoor Classroom Activity Kit. The kit includes valuable resources like field identification guides, magnifying loupes, and educational materials for students to use during outdoor classroom field investigations. For rainy days, students can explore Alabama’s wild places and delve into the wonders of the state’s wildlife and natural resources through the DVD series “Discovering Alabama,” hosted by Dr. Doug Phillips on Alabama Public Television. After the ceremony, attendees are welcome to join a guided tour of the school’s outdoor classroom.
The Alabama Outdoor Classroom Program, a collaboration between AWF, the Alabama Cooperative Extension System, and the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (ADCNR), offers technical assistance for schools aiming to establish sustainable outdoor learning stations and wildlife habitats. These spaces provide engaging investigative activities, allowing students of all ages to apply multidisciplinary skills in math, science, history, geography, and language arts in a stimulating environment.
Students at Lawrence County Signature School will benefit from various activities within their outdoor learning stations, including:
• A sensory garden where students utilize all five senses for observations.
• A songbird sanctuary providing insights into songbirds’ habitat needs, migration patterns, and adaptations for survival.
• A butterfly garden studying the life cycle stages and migration patterns of butterflies like the Monarch through the Journey North program.
• A frog bog and pond for studying frogs, metamorphosis, and wetland environments.
• A pollinator garden educating students on the pollination process and the significance of bees and other pollinators.
• A vegetable garden teaching students how to grow their own food.
• A weather station enabling students to analyze data from instruments like thermometers, hygrometers, barometers, and anemometers.
The development of Lawrence County Signature School’s outdoor classroom is credited to teachers Kim Jones, Tara Reed, and Cody Wilkerson, along with Master Gardeners Susan Steele and Judy Ramos. The project received technical, financial, and volunteer support from the Alabama Wildlife Federation, the Alabama Cooperative Extension System, Lawrence County Master Gardeners, the Alabama Mountains Rivers & Valleys Resource Conservation and Development Council, and numerous other community partners.
Currently, over 350 schools across Alabama are actively developing and utilizing outdoor classroom sites through the Alabama Outdoor Classroom Program.