Caption: The current school grounds are a blank canvas awaiting landscaping, shade features, and new equipment
Winter is still several weeks away, but students and staff at Woodman-Cainsville School are already thinking about next summer. That’s because the school is the recipient of an Earth Week grant, and will be embarking on an exciting school-ground greening project next year.
“We applied for this grant by presenting two areas of need: the need to create shaded spaces to protect students from the sun on warmer days, and the need for an outdoor exploration area that will allow for hands-on learning and discovery,” said Michelle Spencer, Teacher at Woodman-Cainsville School, who took the lead on the application. “It’s about transforming the grounds to make it a better place to play and spend time.”
The grant was awarded by the Brantford/Brant Earth Week committee, and provides $9000 towards the implementation of the project, as well as the assistance of a consultant and a landscape architect to assist with carrying out the plans, which will take multiple years to complete. The school heard about the grant thanks to Katie Hashimoto, Supervisor of Energy and Environmental Conservations with Grand Erie, and the committee apparently received a record number of applications this year.
“When students spend time outdoors, it leads to so many new and different inquiries,” notes Spencer, who teaches Kindergarten.
Environment is a major component of Grand Erie’s Multi-Year Plan, which strives to improve energy and conservation at all sites, while making the best use of spaces in schools. The school-ground greening grant supports that goal, and will allow Woodman-Cainsville to better utilize natural elements.
The project will commence with tree planning next summer, adding much needed shade to the sun-drenched school yard that currently makes being outdoors on hot days uncomfortable. The school’s wish list for the project also includes an outdoor classroom space, a buddy bench, a storage shed, a sandbox, and a mud kitchen.