An Extraordinary Outdoor Classroom: A Nature Explore Classroom

NEC Group // Photo Credit: USFWS

In partnership with Arbor Day Foundation, the National Conservation Training Center (NCTC) and the Creston National Fish Hatchery in Montana have each been selected to develop and implement an extraordinary outdoor classroom—a Nature Explore Classroom, which focuses on nature-based learning.

These two locations, iin West Virginia and Montana, will serve as national models to encourage other field stations throughout the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to replicate the Nature Explore Classroom concept. Relating nicely with the Service's priority of Connecting People with Nature, this project incorporates the three-E's of engaging, educating, and employing youth.

At NCTC, students from the local Harpers Ferry Job Corps were instrumental in bringing this project to life; they completed the installation, developed walkways, and created unique nature features--all culminating in a recent Ribbon Cutting Ceremony. Later this summer at Creston, the local Tribal YCC youth crew will develop their classroom.

Each Nature Explore Classroom, designed by Dimensions Education landscape architects, is unique to the specifics of the local setting and target audience. If you are interested in learning more about this opportunity for your area, please contact

Mary Danno

 -- published --  July 5, 2012
 -- photo credit --  USFWS

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