Teacher organizes outdoor learning center by new high school


The prairie and retention pond are located on the southwest side of the new high school. The land is planned to be fully functional within the next three years.

Grace Ballesteros, Staff Writer

AP Biology teacher Sara Kate Howe plans to create a science space at the new high school by getting a grant to make the land a prairie. The retention pond and land on the southwest corner of the property inspired her to create a outdoor learning space.

Howe plans for the prairie to be fully equipped with a trail, benches and student-made displays. Howe is hoping that Iowa’s Department of Natural Resources will give money for the fish that will live in the pond and more trees. “If we don’t have this [land] then we don’t have any area [for an outdoor learning space],” Howe said.

The prairie has had few donations. Their GoFundMe has raised $875 as of this May, but has a long way to go with a final goal of $24,000 . The National Honor Society (NHS)  has donated $650  which they raised during their canned food drive. “Our initial plan was to plant in one of the three courtyards but the administration forgot and already planted them,” Jack Pauley ‘17 said. “We ended up finding Mrs. Howe and saying we have some cash we’d like to donate to the project.”

FRK Architects and Engineers

Howe hopes to raise enough money to make this prairie as useful as possible. All science teachers and their students will be able to use this land for their classes giving them a new way to get hands on learning as well as a new environment to learn in.  “It helps students maintain interest rather than sitting in a classroom all day.” AP Biology student Lauren Fergus ’19 said.”It also just helps students decompress from the pressures of the school day.”