Thursday, May 31, 2007

Seeing the Minnesota Forest Through the Trees at Linwood Elementary

Not every school in Minnesota can boast having a 170 forest in its backyard, but Linwood Elementary can! What a way to learn about science with a quick walk out the door and down the path! Linwood Elementary, part of the Forest Lake School District, is one of eight schools in Anoka County with its own forest and park within shouting distance of their playground.

Though this sounds unique, according to the Minnesota DNR website, there are actually several school forests in the great State of Minnesota. Added in 1994, the forest at Linwood Elementary was one of the first and is still the largest in Anoka County. Linwood Community Park and School Forest is a cooperative effort between Linwood Elementary and Linwood Township. The park boasts nature trails, boardwalks and groomed cross country trails in the winter.

So how do you best take advantage of a 170 acre science lab? Bring in a naturalist. Three times a year, fall, winter and spring, classes have the opportunity to explore the forest with a naturalist from the
Wargo Nature Center. The cost of this educational opportunity is fully paid for with fundraising at the school. The students have also worked with the Minnesota DNR on a prairie restoration project for their forest.

It is not only science study that takes place in the woods, social studies is another subject that has been discussed. To walk in a forest after discussing Native American history, provides an insight into past lives that cannot be found in a textbook. It is unfortunate that all schools across the country do not have the luxury of a forest in their backyard.

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Copyright 2007