Billingsley enhances outdoor learning

Published 5:35 pm Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Billingsley teachers K-12 and Alabama Cooperative Extension System representatives around the school's gold fish pond – part of the school's outdoor classroom – after a demonstration.

A classroom doesn’t necessarily have to have four walls and a ceiling.

The Alabama Cooperative Extension System (ACES) conducted two workshops at Billingsley High School on Wednesday, May 25 to show teachers how to enhance the use of their outdoor classroom for grades K-12.

“The Alabama Outdoor Classroom Program started here to get kids outside, and so they can learn outside of a four-wall classroom,” said Tammy Tindol, gifted teacher and coordinator for the outdoor classroom program for Billingsley. “This provides resources for students to do hands-on activities.”

The first workshop, Junior Master Gardeners, was presented by Josine Walter and Luci Davis of ACES and was geared mainly to teachers of grades K–6.

Doyle Keasal of ACES, forestry, wildlife and natural resources management, presented the second workshop, Alabama Outdoor Classroom. This workshop was for all faculty members.

The purpose of the workshop was to share ideas and strategies for using the outdoor classroom.

“We want to become an Alabama Outdoor Classroom certified school, and to my knowledge no other school in Autauga County is certified,” said Tindol.

Having the workshop is a prerequisite for the school’s outdoor classroom certification.

Billingsley’s outdoor classroom includes a goldfish pond, raised vegetable beds, a butterfly garden, nature trail, trees donated by Modern Woodmen of America and rain barrels.

The school has received numerous grants and donations to help fund the projects to provide better hands-on learning experiences for the students.