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Watkins uses outdoor classroom

WATKINS GLEN—The Watkins Glen school district is making use of an unconventional “classroom.”
The outdoor classroom was completed this summer, and was first used during summer school.  This “classroom” consists of a leveled seating, a table, and a small observation deck on the edge of the Catharine marsh.  It is located on the edge of the school’s property, across the athletic fields from the school.
Elementary Principal Rod Weeden explained the project was supposed to be completed one year ago.  However, because it required special permits from the state, it took an extra year.  Weeden explained the Department of Environmental Conservation was being stringent, because the classroom was partially in state wetlands.  He also said Mike DeNardo, buildings and grounds manager, wanted to do it just as the DEC required.
Weeden added the classroom was completed thanks to $5,000 from Lowe’s.
During the summer school, Trish Ervay’s class used the outdoor classroom.  Weeden explained the elementary school is using it the most.  However, the district would like teachers up through high school to make use of it.
He added now that it is cooler outside, there will not be as many students at the outdoor classroom.  Weeden said he knows more teachers will want to use it when it is warmer out, so a sign out sheet was created.
He explained the outdoor classroom can be used for science projects.  Weeden said students can collect bugs and take plant samples of wildlife native to the marsh. 



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