School needs helpers for outdoor classroom

LILBURN — Knight Elementary is looking for a few good volunteers to help school leaders construct an outdoor classroom and show students the value of gardening. The Lilburn school recently got a grant to build garden and lecture areas outside the facility.

School officials hope the new outdoor classroom will connect student studies with nature. A $30,000 grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Greening Youth Foundation will pay for butterfly gardens, vegetable gardens, reading and lecture areas, a water conservation program and a waste recycling program.

As students plant, maintain and harvest the gardens, school officials hope it will supplement what they are learning in science, math, social studies and language arts classes.

“Our school community is excited to receive this grant, which will provide a wonderful new learning tool for students,” Principal Toni Ferguson said.

“There are numerous positive effects related to children engaging in outdoor classroom settings. For example, students learn an appreciation of nature, demonstrate a greater desire to eat fruits and vegetables, exhibit more patience, learn a greater understanding of teamwork, improve self-esteem and develop a sense of ownership.”

Knight Elementary plans to incorporate a parent-community volunteer program which will consist of local farmers, scout troops, master gardeners and other parent volunteers.

The group will assist teachers with lessons and projects that incorporate the garden area. At the end of the school year, the school will hold an Environmental Awareness Day to celebrate the recent accomplishments.

Work on the area will begin soon to install benches, water stations, weather stations and plant beds. School officials are looking for parents and community volunteers who want to help. Students and staff will begin planting vegetables, flowers and other plants in March.

To volunteer, call the school at 770-921-2400.