North Cross builds outdoor classroom with gardens

North Cross School built gardens for students to learn in.
North Cross School built gardens for students to learn in.

ROANOKE (WSLS 10) – Driving down Electric Road you may have noticed a new garden on the hillside at North Cross School.

“Days are long when you’re in school so it’s nice to be able to get outside, get your hands a little dirty, have some fun,” said Lucas Arnold who works hard on the football field but spent the day on a different kind of field instead.

He was one of the many football and soccer players shoveling dirt and building an outdoor classroom for the younger grades.

“I garden with my family. It’s a really great time. Any way you can get people involved with the school altogether it’s really great,” said Arnold.

“I think we really want kids across all the grade levels to have a sense of wonder, of what goes on in the natural world. The more they learn, the more interesting things are and the more interesting they are to them the more likely they are to take care of their environment,” said Betsy Cook, a North Cross science teacher who said this project has been in the works and on the “wish list” for years. Getting outside and moving and hands on I think can be a more engaging way of learning about things especially life science than just having a textbook and being in the classroom.”

Cook says now more than ever it’s important for the future.

“The idea of environmental stewardship, climate change, local food all of those things are things that this generation needs to understand and be passionate about to take care of our environment for coming generations,” said Cook.

So far it is working.

“Learning how to build a garden, learning little things that you can use when you’re older and expand on and build upon. someone may find out ‘Hey this is really cool. I want to be an environmental scientist’,” said Arnold.

Fourth and fifth graders will use the gardens. There are plans to build an outdoor classroom later this year as well.

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