Lincoln Village residents help students get back to nature
(by Whitney Wilson Coy, Westside Editor - December 02, 2010)
Students at Prairie Lincoln Elementary School will have a new way to learn about nature when spring rolls around next year. They’ll be able to experience it first-hand without going far, thanks to the efforts of local residents.
The Lincoln Village Residents Association (LVRA), along with Boy Scout Troop 161 and the South-Western City School District, has been working hard to clear a section of the wooded area behind the building. By the time the ground thaws, the area will be transformed into an outdoor learning area, according to LVRA member Gay Finn.
The new learning area will consist of four sections, including a bird sanctuary, an amphitheater, a reading circle and an area for native Ohio wildflowers and plants. The wooded area has been estimated to include about 4 acres.
“The learning circle will be closer to the building. It’s more for the little kids so they don’t have to go so far from the building,” said Finn.
“We’re really excited about it,” said Prairie Lincoln Principal Cheri Denis, “We consider it an outdoor classroom.”
Dennis says all of the students at the school will have an opportunity to utilize the area.
“It’s a great way to get out in nature. They can read in a book about a tree, and then go out and look for it,” she said.
Troop 161 will be making markers and labels for plants and trees in the area. They will also construct bird feeders for the bird sanctuary area and place salt licks throughout the land for local deer.
“The students really like the deer that live back there, so we want to make sure we try and get them to stay. We want to keep the environment as natural as possible” said Finn.
The entire area will be linked together by a path made of recycled asphalt, donated by Prairie Township and laid down by the school district.
“That’s happening now,” said Finn. “The rest of the project might take awhile because of the weather.”
The project is being funded through the LVRA, using a neighborhood partnership grant the organization received through the United Way and the Columbus Foundation.
According to Finn, the group has set aside about $2,000 of the grant for the project.
“So far, we haven’t had to spend much because the community has been so great,” added Finn.
The final step of the project will take place in the spring, when native Ohio flowers and plants are planted throughout the area. Donations of local plants will be accepted.
“We’re hoping people will donate when they thin out the plants in their yards,” said Finn.
To donate, call Finn at 878-0783, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Finn says the LVRA decided to focus on the area because it had become an eyesore to the community.
“It used to be used for something like this a very long time ago, but it just got forgotten and overgrown,” said Finn. “It became an eyesore to the area.”
“I think the community just wanted to take that area back,” added Denis.