Development of West End’s outdoor classroom began in 2008 and continues today. “Classroom” is a somewhat misleading term, however. The vision has always been to create a multi-station learning center that opens up many new possibilities for students to engage in hands-on activities while forming a deeper connection with the natural world.
The first phase consisted of planting rain gardens to alleviate a serious runoff problem behind the main building. In 2011, West End was the recipient of the Burpee Home Gardens “I Can Grow” Youth Garden Award, beating out 220 other applicants. This grant made possible the construction of 18 raised beds, which have already produced several bountiful crops of vegetables and herbs. During the 2012-2013 school year, a shed was constructed as an Eagle Scout Project, providing badly needed storage space for tools and supplies. Planned future enhancements include a greenhouse and shelter/pavilion.