WILMINGTON — As Denver students and staff gear up to host the Alumni Chili Supper and Open House, behind the scene plans continue to take shape for the construction of the Denver Place Elementary Land Lab/Arboretum Project, which will be a feature exhibit during the alumni event scheduled for Feb. 5 from 5-7 p.m.
The outdoor learning-lab classroom and arbor will enhance the school’s current outdoor learning lab and standards-based, social studies, language arts, math, and art curriculum school-wide, while at the same time allowing students, their families, and the community to make deeper real-life connections between home and school.
According to principal Karen Long, the Denver Place Arboretum will become a destination for not only Denver families, but for students throughout the district, as well as community members.
“Our mission,” says Long, “is to restore the habitat surrounding the Denver Creek as a wetland, as well as reestablish areas for a prairie, pine forest, and native Ohio arbor. The outdoor learning-lab classroom and arbor will include a classroom enclosed by trees, a learning lab table, and a bulletin board posting learning experiences for students, families, and community members to explore after hours.”
The idea for the land lab arboretum project began to evolve when Denver Place students participated in an exploratory unit on birds, surviving in the wild, erosion, gardening, and a variety of outdoor learning experiences where students discovered the ditch line outside the school and dubbed it the Denver Place Creek.
Partnering with the local Tree Commission, Clinton County Parks and Recreation, and the Wilmington Schools Foundation, Denver Place has applied for two grants that if awarded would greatly help offset the cost of bringing the outdoor learning lab and tree arbor to fruition.
The students and staff at Denver Place would also like to invite the community to take part in planting the legacy that will serve area students for generations to come by donating a tree that will serve as a memorial or tribute to lost loved ones or people of honor.
The cost for donating a tree is $200, which includes planting and maintenance. Trees will be planted during late fall, and signage plaques are available for an additional fee. While the project’s goal is to plant Ohio Native trees that can be purchased from local nurseries that provide educational opportunities, tree species requests are accepted. Also, because the Wilmington Schools Foundation is a 501(c)3 organization, all donations are tax deductible.
For questions, please feel free to contact Principal Karen Long by calling 937-283-7572 or by emailing her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Memorial and Tribute Gift forms for tree donations are available at the front office at Denver Place Elementary School and can also be found on the district webpage at www.wilmington.k12.oh.us.
Information for this article was provided by Diana Miller, who coordinates communications for several area schools.