Students, teachers, community members, and representatives from Bridgestone Canada and Evergreen were present at a recent celebration of the completion of Lancaster Public School's new five-acre outdoor classroom. The unique learning area was sponsored by both Bridgestone and Evergreen.
MISSISSAUGA, Ont. — Bridgestone Canada and Evergreen have partnered to create a new outdoor classroom for Lancaster Public School in Mississauga. The five-acre site is comprised of five gardens, boasting dozens of different plant varieties and nearly 10 different vegetables.
The outdoor classroom was created to give students “a healthy place to play, learn and develop an appreciation for nature,” according to Lancaster officials.
Bridgestone joined Evergreen, a not-for-profit organization that works to make cities more liveable, as well as students, faculty and local community members, at a recent ceremony to celebrate the completion of the 15-month project.
“The support we received from Bridgestone and Evergreen in terms of money, time and resources has been nothing less than extraordinary,” said Marlyne King, principal at Lancaster Public School. “With that rich soil beneath our feet, we were showered with tremendous support from the community around us. This project brought a lot of people and organizations together to create a magical place where students can discover nature.”
Working under the guidance of Evergreen and landscape designer Marius de Bruyn, the school constructed a butterfly meadow, a vegetable garden, a sugar bush garden, a canoe forest and a bird sanctuary. Students planted strawberries, peas, beans, peppers, cherry tomatoes, heritage tomatoes, beets and various herbs. Hundreds of native grasses and dozens of trees were planted throughout.
“Care for the environment holds an important place in our corporate culture,” said Fiona Gardner, director of human resources for Bridgestone. “In July, we announced our new environmental mission statement, which aims to ensure a healthy environment for current and future generations. This project has become a perfect example of the results our mission strives to achieve.”
Two sitting circles composed of boulders were installed that allow students to learn and explore in an outdoor classroom environment. Throughout the summer, volunteers helped care for the gardens. Now that it’s fall, families in the neighbourhood will be able to harvest food and herbs. Trees were also planted on the asphalt for shade cover.
“A necessary component when planning a school ground greening project is to create a sense of adventure and bring nature into a student’s education,” says Cam Collyer, director of Toyota Evergreen Learning Grounds. “An ecologically diverse area for learning, active and passive play right on school property will have great effects for years to come.”
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