Woodlot Development

The Outdoor Learning Committee has created the following framework for enhancing our outdoor learning spaces for the benefit of all our students.

To create school grounds that are inviting for outdoor, nature based and active learning (both structured and free play).  To make these areas accessible to all students, teachers, parents and the school community.  To create several distinct playscapes and outdoor classroom/ learning areas, building on the many natural strengths of the school yard, including the woodlot.  In order to better accomplish these goals, the committee has broken down the overall project into several phases, to be spread out over the next few years as funding is obtained and as the needs of the outdoor learning space is defined.

Phase I:

  • establish ‘infrastructure’ for outdoor classroom
  • repair trails & boundary
  • remove hazard trees (e.g. diseased ash trees – an ongoing task as trees are identified as needing to be removed)
  • install 2 gathering areas and a stone seating circle in west gathering area (aka Shadow’s Den)

Phase II:

  • create accessible entrance to the woodlot and trails
  • minor maintenance: repair boundary fence, trail surfacing
  • install additional classroom components and unstructured natural play components
    • examples: music components; sand trough / raised pits; wood ‘weaving’ board; balance components; hill slide; activity / discovery tables; creative components; chalkboard, loose components; display area element; seating components as needed; signage (welcome, interpretive, boundary and student created signs)

Phase III:

  • install nature shed for loose components and to function as outdoor shelter / centre near the woodlot
  • outdoor environmental / nature training and learning events for both teachers, families and the wider community

Phase IV:

  • install or enhance small garden / planting areas around school grounds
  • build on the interests of the school at that time.
    • example: butterfly garden; vegetable garden; outdoor chess tables; gardening club; front garden enhancement; portable pots for garden

Phase V:

  • when the creative playground area is required to be replaced, installation of a new playground structure that is keeping with the values and intent of the overall master plan / playground vision.  (at this point there should be many good years left for the playground at NLW)

Maintenance Plan:

  • ongoing maintenance of woodlot and infrastructure (trails, hazard tree removal, vandalism repairs, sand top ups)
  • repairs, replacement or installation of additional components as needed, to enhance other areas as directed by emerging interests within the school community
  • addition of appropriate native plants – properly sourced, properly planted, with consideration to habitat requirements (e.g. poor drainage areas) and outdoor classroom use patterns (i.e. to avoid trampling).

Funding to date:

  • NLW School Council fundraising, ongoing
  • 2016/17 TD Friends of the Environment Foundation – $10,850 for natural play components
  • 2016/17 Toyota Evergreen – $1,000 for indigenous plants/trees
  • 2016/17 Project Nest Box – Two next boxes and associated instruction materials