Busy Fall 2014 at NKE Arboretum

 I’m happy to report that we’ve had a great end to 2014 in the NKE Arboretum. In a little more than two years we’ve seen this fantastic space inside our school transform from a little-used, overgrown courtyard to a beautiful natural area that is a part of daily school life. Some of the highlights from this fall include:

• Students harvested produce from the gardens they planted last spring.

• Some of the classes put their own produce to work by making and trying salsa.

RobinBoysTreeCookies-forweb• We participated in the Green Apple Day of Service on Sept. 22. This is a worldwide event coordinated by the U.S. Green Building Council dedicated to making our schools greener. At the NKE Arboretum, volunteers built a “tree cookie” patio and did general cleanup. Many thanks to the Wisconsin Green Building Alliance for their mini-grant supporting our efforts!

• We succeeded in raising enough money for and constructing permanent compost bins in the parking lot that will handle cafeteria compost from NKE and PVE. That’s a huge amount of waste that will be put to good use instead of going into a landfill!

BinsAlmostBuiltDanRobin-forwebWe’ll be busy over the winter months doing planning and fund-raising so that when spring arrives, we’ll be ready. Some priorities we’ve already identified include improving the path surfaces, building a rain garden, creating hoop houses for our garden beds and providing more education and support for our staff to integrate outdoor learning into their very busy days.

Many people don’t realize that the NKE Arboretum improvements are supported solely by donations and grants (and lots of volunteer sweat equity, of course!). If you’d like to make a financial donation supporting outdoor learning at NKE, you can always download the donation form here on our website. Every single donation makes an impact and is tax-deductible. (Making a donation in honor of a favorite teacher or staff member would be a great holiday gift!)

Thanks to all the staff, parents and students who have worked hard to improve our outdoor classroom space in 2014! If you’d like to get involved, please email Principal Dan Rikli at der@oregonsd.net.

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