(NEEDMORE) - Needmore Elementary School in Lawrence County recently dedicated its outdoor nature area with the entire student body at the school's woodland amphitheater.
Begun in 2007 with the help of Sycamore Land Trust, a 10,000-square-foot prairie planting was established by staff and students. The project continued with several phases of development, including a quarter-mile nature trail with benches along the way, according to a news release from Sycamore Land Trust.
The trail passes though huge old oaks, sassafras, tulip, maple and hickory trees.
At the edge of the prairie an amphitheater capable of seating 60 students along with a 150-square-foot stage will allow for programs and classrooms to come out and study in a natural setting.
This component was funded by the Lawrence County Community Foundation, Sycamore Land Trust, the school PTO and many donors. The entire school has used this facility for outdoor education.
"Not many schools have an outdoor facility like this, surrounded by a sea of yellow sunflowers, tall prairie grasses and the sounds of nature," said Carroll Ritter, environmental education coordinator for Sycamore Land Trust.
"The Lawrence County Community Foundation grant received by Sycamore Land Trust was a keystone in the development of this project. We also could not have created this wonderful area without the commitment and construction expertise of North Lawrence Community Schools maintenance staff Steve Ritter, Jay Combs and Kerry George."
With a huge nature banner as a backdrop, the dedication program featured speaking from former North Lawrence Community Schools Superintendent Dr. Dennis Turner, current Superintendent Gary Connor and corporation maintenance project supervisor Jay Combs.
Honored guests included Barbara Turner. She and her late husband, John Turner, provided the vision for establishing this project years ago.
The entire student body, led by music teacher Bill Morgan, sang a song about nature. Nature poems were read by fifth-graders Myla Bergman and Darrean Mitchell.
A special program was also provided by Leslie Grow of the Indiana Department of Natural Resources Dwight Chamberlain Raptor Center. A bald eagle was displayed for students who were able to see this magnificent bird up close and learn about the rescue and rehabilitation work of the center.
Sycamore Land Trust continues to grow in its mission to preserve areas of natural quality in southern Indiana and invest in families and children of this generation to guarantee their future interest as stewards for the quality places we call home.
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