Willowdale has an amazing classroom outdoors! The objective of the Outdoor Learning Environment (OLE) is to enhance science and environmental education through hands-on instruction. The OLE was a concept envisioned by Nancy Wiederholt, a former Willowdale teacher. The gardens were made possible through grants, gifts, donations, fundraising and the hard work of volunteers. The work began in April of the year 2000. Areas included wildflower beds, a prairie and extra trees and shrubs. The site currently holds an arid display (plants that tolerate drought), a native grass area that supports both short and long grass prairie specimens, a butterfly garden and a rock outcropping area.
 

   
   

   



OLE Fast Facts
• 28,000 square feet
• Approximate cost: $21,000
• Funding sources: Nebrska Greenspace, Papio-Missouri River Natural Resources District, Waldinger Company (part of Compass costs), Omaha Public Power District, Willowdale PTO, and Willowdale families and community
• 165 donated bricks around the circle
• Eagle Scout projects were the source of its inception and maintaining it throughout the years
• In the summer of 2017 a parent group took over the maintenance of the OLE. Many items were removed and as funding becomes available new plants will be added.