Outdoor classroom project approved for NRD grant

YORK — The board of directors of the Upper Big Blue Natural Resources District has recently approved a $2,500 Educational Capital Projects (ECAP) grant for St. Joseph Catholic School in York for the creation of an outdoor classroom space.

The purpose of the NRD’s ECAP fund is to create, develop, or enhance natural resources related educational capital projects that create experiential learning environments and opportunities for district citizens.

A garden area, foot bridge, water feature, sand pit and lots of room to create and explore are part of the proposed outdoor classroom. The total cost of the project is estimated to be $30,000 and funding will come from several sources. The expansion of their nature offerings will soon be underway adjacent to the current playground area and will be completed in 2025-26 school year.

“Currently, our outdoor playground provides the usual experiences of running, jumping, and climbing. With the addition of the outdoor classroom, space will be available to students for creating music, performing, gardening, open-ended experimentation, and promoting creativity,” said Mary Jo Leininger, school principal. “Our ultimate goal is to expand learning beyond the walls of our classrooms, providing our students with opportunities to interact with and appreciate nature.”

Applications for ECAP funds are accepted throughout the year and are voted on by the board each May. For more information or to apply, visit www.upperbigblue.org/education.


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