Greening Project

Greening Project

School ground greening efforts began at W.E. Gowling Public School last year with 20 native
shade trees planted through the city of Ottawa Schoolyard Tree Planting Grant Program. This
past year, following consultation with students, staff, parents and community
 members, we
developed a School Ground Greening Concept Plan.

There are three main phases to the plan: a no
-mow zone, "Nature Study Area" in the
north-east corner of the yard; an outdoor classroom, and a redevelopment of the kinder
that replaces the current, aging conventional structure with a naturalized 
play structure and

Greening Committee Concept Plan

Phase 1. Nature Study Area

We would like to thank TELUS and TreeCanada for the Edible Tree Grant ($2620). We used
it to buy top soil, mulch and over 80 edible shrubs (raspberries, blueberries, serviceberry trees
haskaps) from Ritchie's Seed and Feed, who gave us a 30% discount! On June 10th, 2017
we had a huge turnout from the 
community for a planting day to get our shrubs carefully planted
and build our walking path.

Planting Day

Planting Day

Evolution of the Nature Study Area

Nature Study Area
Nature Study Area

Nature Study Area

Student Morning Hike through Nature Study Area

Students Hiking in Nature Study Area

Flora & Fauna

Phase 2: Outdoor Classroom

At the end of this summer the outdoor classroom was installed thanks to funds raised
by the School Council ($15,000) and grants from 
Toyota Evergreen Learning Grounds ($3,500)
and a generous anonymous donor ($6,875). The teachers and students have benefited from the
beautiful fall weather and we have had plenty of very positive feedback.

Toyota Evergreen Learning Grounds

Outdoor Classroom

“I love the Outdoor Classroom and can’t wait to see how the Nature Study area grows and changes.
With our weekly visits, we’re able to notice changes in both areas and tie them to the children’s
growing understanding of the natural areas around the school. The students love being outside and
we plan on using our time in the yard as a way to introduce future outdoor education sessions outside
of the school grounds.” 
– Manisha Phadnis Grade 2/3 EFI.

“We use the outdoor classroom everyday. Sometimes we read a book together there but sometimes
the mulch is lava and we need to jump across the rocks! We have held our butterfly release party
there where we observed our monarch fly, "back to the wild" as a student enthusiastically exclaimed.
We have practiced our "sit spots" where we sit silently and observe nature sounds in a calming and
meditative way. We put on plays and musical performances and we look for caterpillars. We search
for nests high and low and sometimes we find them! We crawl through the conservation area and
imagine we are in the jungle. We play, learn and thrive in the outdoors.” 
- Mariah Stassen JK/SK teacher

Outdoor Classroom

Some of the other ways the Outdoor Classroom and Nature Study Area have
been used this fall:

Arborist Visit   
They sat on the rocks and participated in a discussion about nature with an arborist. 
They sorted leaves, rocks and branches on the ‘stage’/platform.

Tree Identification:
We used the Tree Atlas of Ontario (on iPads) to identify the various trees in the yard based on
leaves, bark, branches, etc. Students took notes and drew the leaves in their observation journals.
Students then worked in the Outdoor Classroom to carefully observe and draw a tree of their choice.
We followed up by researching the trees they had identified.

Alphabetical Scavenger Hunt:
The students looked around the yard for natural and man-made objects beginning with each
letter of the alphabet. They worked in mixed-age groups in order to learn, read, and write the
vocabulary in French.

Mapping/Treasure Hunt:
Students learned the features of maps in the classroom (based on this lesson). Next, they created
large maps of the schoolyard. Finally, we provided maps and had the students hide ‘treasures’ and
indicate the hiding spots on the map. They switched maps with the other group and worked together
to find the hidden objects.
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