Outdoor learning part of facilities plan [UPDATED]Published 2:06pm Monday, October 8, 2012 Updated 4:08pm Monday, October 8, 2012
With a new football field, bleachers, soccer fields, softball fields and track all included in the Outdoor Facilities Bond Referendum, it might seem like the proposed upgrades are all about sports. The Environmental Learning Center, however, will provide a way for students to get hands-on experience in classes like environmental studies, earth studies, earth science and biology.
“We can talk and talk and talk, but there’s nothing like touch,” said Kennedy Secondary science teacher Amy Beske. “Touching and experiencing nature brings home what we learn in the classroom.”
Fergus Falls area residents will have the opportunity to vote on the $6.27 million Outdoor Facility Bond Referendum in November. The project would be paid for through a 20-year extension to the 1994 bond to build the high school science wing. The extension would cost taxpayers in the district less than they are currently paying on the 1994 bond referendum. Taxpayers are paying $23.16 per year on a $100,000 property, but for the 20-year extension, the same property owner would pay $20.28 per year.
If the referendum is passed, the environmental learning center would span from Friberg Avenue to the slough northwest of the current football field. Much of the area will be allowed to grow into natural grassland, and a dock would be installed over the slough.
“A dock could accommodate a class of students to go out with dip nets and take some samples of plant and animal life,” said Beske. “Through the prairie, hiking trails would wind along, and myself and other teachers could spread students out to do projects.”
She said the new school has been great, and an upgrade to the outdoor facilities would fully finish the project.
“My mission was planning for the future science kids and teachers that aren’t hired yet,” Beske said. “There’s something special about experiencing the chirp of crickets and the smell of wildflowers. There’s no way we can experience these things in the classroom.”