Steph Leonard

The Legacy Project, at a high school in St. Paul, helped fix up an outdoor learning space.

On April 30, 15 volunteers attending the IMPACT Conference supported the Legacy Project at River’s Edge Academy (REA) in St. Paul, Minnesota, to help make the school's outdoor classroom better for teaching.

For this project, Kohler donated the funds to build eight benches and two chalkboards, to have mulch and compost donated by The Mulch Store delivered on-site, and to allow USGBC to leave behind a $500 grant to purchase native pollinator plants for the garden. Volunteers, including eight from Kohler, built, stained and painted the benches and chalkboards. The chalkboards are located on the fence—one to use for classes and the other to serve as an REA Outdoor Classroom sign to track what is growing and describe the garden to passersby.

Sophie Bishop, an REA GreenCorps Member, shared her thoughts about the project:

River’s Edge Academy is a public charter high school in St. Paul. The school has 16 full-time staff and has the capacity for 80 students. The school emphasizes experiential learning with a focus on the environment. With the help of these volunteers, we are able to get students outside more and teach them in a different environment. Teachers plan to use the space to teach outdoor concepts, and students will be able to get some sunlight and fresh air to help them stay focused in their classes.

Students are also helping with fix up the outdoor classroom, which includes mulching, moving benches and tables, composting, planting and rebuilding the pizza oven. Students will use the space for two weeks during the gardening intensive at the end of the year. These students will conduct projects and plant crops to sell at the local farmer’s market. We are all very excited to be outside more and get our hands dirty. Thank you again to the volunteers and donors who helped us create a more welcoming space in the outdoor classroom.

The 2018 Legacy Project also served as a catalyst for the third annual Minnesota Schoolyard Garden Planting Week. USGBC Minnesota supported and celebrated students and school staff getting gardens going for the season during the week of May 22–26. Thanks to The Mulch Store and JavaCycle for helping get needed materials to schools.

IMPACT 2019 will be held in conjunction with the Green Schools Conference and Expo, April 8–9, 2019. Are you a K–12 school or nonprofit with a project in need of support? Contact Steph Leonard to learn more about how to initiate an IMPACT Legacy Project.