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Alabama Outdoor Classroom certified at Horizon

This sign recognizes the Alabama Outdoor Classroom on the Horizon Elementary School campus. (CONTRIBUTED)
This sign recognizes the Alabama Outdoor Classroom on the Horizon Elementary School campus. (CONTRIBUTED)

MADISON – Horizon Elementary School developed a learning environment in nature to receive Alabama Outdoor Classroom certification.

The classroom accommodates fresh-air sessions in any subject, offers habitat for indigenous wildlife and allows students to observe the animals first-hand. The Outdoor Classroom program is a partnership among the Alabama Wildlife Federation, Outdoor Alabama and Alabama Cooperative Extension System.

To define this campus space, the Alabama Outdoor Classroom program provides on-site assistance and support to the school population and volunteers, Beth Bero said. Bero has coordinated efforts for the outdoor classroom and works as Horizon’s gifted specialist.

At the certification ceremony on May 15, Student Government Association A.J. Revera welcomed visitors, along with vice president Alice Choup, secretary Makayla Townsend, treasurer Maggie Jo Enfinger and historian Anna Fennell. Principal Rodney Richardson opened the program. Bero spoke about the classroom’s history.

Steve Kirkpatrick with the Alabama Wildlife Federation was featured speaker. April Waltz represented the Alabama Outdoor Classroom committee. Mayor Troy Trulock, Superintendent Dr. Dee Fowler and elementary instruction coordinator Judy Warmath attended.

Horizon Garden Club conducted tours of campus gardens. Members are Chloe Phillips, Jessie Litton, Kauryn Datcher, Michael Cox, Seth Phillips, Laura Connor, Kia Williams, Tyler Jones and Bailey Brown.

Horizon Eco-Kids led trail tours. Eco-Kids students are Leslie Chu, Mia Escobar, Diane Hudson, Ethan Worcester, Hunter Johnson, Zachary Langton, Katherine Maner, Ian Kurowsky and Evan Willoughby. Along with work on the outdoor classroom, Eco-Kids recycle, plant trees and conduct cleanup days.

Contributors to the outdoor classroom include Green University/Huntsville Botanical Garden, PTA parent Mitch Williams and former Sea Ship 42 member Mark Hanson, who reclaimed and cleared the classroom’s overgrown site for his Eagle Scout project.

Other supporters are The Schools Foundation, Solid Waste Disposal Authority, Legacy of Alabama, Tennessee Aquarium, Junior Master Gardeners, People Against a Littered State (PALS), Home Depot – Madison, extension agent Ken Creel, Anne Meinhold, Mitch Williams, Becca Fraley, Gayle Milam, Shaver’s Bookstore and One Stop Environmental/Verizon.

In 2012, Horizon received the Green School Challenge grant.

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