Outdoor classroom gives James Clemens students opportunity for sustainable lessons

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MADISON, Ala. - Madison City Schools believes in learning outside the box, or classroom in this case. James Clemens High School students spent the day working in their outdoor classroom, while making progress with their Alabama Wildlife Federation Certification.

"We come in and help design the outdoor classroom based on what the teachers want," April Waltz with the Alabama Wildlife Federation said.

It's called the Alabama Outdoor Classroom Program.

"With that they have to show that they are providing the food, water, shelter and places to raise young for local wildlife," Waltz said. "Then they have to show that they're using the area not just for a beautification project."

James Clemens High Teachers say they're excited to have a special space for more learning.

"They can come outside and observe food chains, food webs," said Patricia Williams, a biology teacher. "They can understand about biological diversity and our ecosystem."

Teachers and students have worked on the outdoor classroom for a couple of years now. When it's finished, a bog garden, pollination station, butterfly garden and solar lighting and charging stations will find a home here.

"There are wild species out here," Williams said. "They have different interactions. Students need to observe those interactions... in an effort to sustain wildlife."

All disciplines at James Clemens High School will get the opportunity to learn in this outdoor classroom. When James Clemens achieves its certification, it will join more than 60 other certified schools in the state.