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. Since work began in April of the year 2000, nearly half of the planned areas have been established. Additional areas, including wildflower beds, a prairie, a pond, and extra trees and shrubs will be created in the coming years as funding becomes available. The site currently holds an arid display (plants that tolerate drought), a native grass area that supports both short and long grass prairie specimens, two butterfly gardens and a rock outcropping area.
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