Outdoor Classrooms

The Armstrong Education Center is made up of what we call ‘outdoor classrooms’, which we use to host our hands-on educational events.  These classrooms – the forest, solar array, and garden, just to name a few – are functioning parts of the Armstrong landscape that enables us to provide rich, experiential education.  For example, biology comes alive in the vernal pool, our students literally taste sustainable food production in the gardens and the forest is used to teach wildlife and ecology.  All educational programs are developed and executed by the PRLC’s staff educator.

Our outdoor classrooms exemplify land stewardship
Our long list of outdoor classrooms encompasses virtually every part of the Armstrong Preserve, which reflects our foremost educational principle: land stewardship starts with a knowledgeable relationship between people and their landscape.  Our outdoor classrooms range from demonstration sites of active land management (for example, the meadow) to areas with little human activity, such as parts of the forests.  This blend of preservation of nature and use of nature models a sustainable relationship between humans and the rest of nature.  Participants of our classes leave understanding that, as responsible land stewards, they must nurture their active relationships with nature.

Our educational style
At the Armstrong Education Center, the curriculum is brought to life.  Our style of education is experiential, where the learner’s experience is the ultimate teacher.  By quietly watching a woodpecker bore for insects or catching a slippery frog, the biology student is deeply impressed.  Likewise, by pulling a radish out of the ground and adding compost to a garden bed, the sustainability student gains insight into natural processes.  Our classes have a foundation of informational content and use the unparalleled tool of experience to transform the learner.

We are currently looking for partners to launch education opportunities at the Armstrong Education Center.  Specific classes and programs can be developed to match teacher and/or institutional objectives.  We would be very happy to develop a learning experience for you, your family and your class.

Examples of Outdoor Classrooms and some topics covered:

Vernal pool: Lifecycle of amphibians and insects, aquatic ecology, hydrology, geography

Meadow: Invasive plant removal, meadow ecology, habitat management, succession

Garden:

In the mandala: Soil health, food systems, food production, garden keeping, water resource management, cooking, home economics

At the compost:  Decomposition, biology and chemistry of compost

In the tree nursery:  Forest ecology, biology, botany, conservation

At the honeybee colony:  Insect lifecycle, biology, pollination, anatomy

At the chicken flock:  Animal husbandry, sustainability

At the native landscapingBotany, conservation, forest ecology

Forest: Forest ecology, biology, team building exercises, bird ecology, geology, nature awareness, maple syrup production

Armstrong House:  Off-grid living, energy efficiency, home renovation, material recycling, design, resource management