GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Some Grand Rapids Public Schools students will soon ditch the desks for a natural classroom outside.
The district and Grand Rapids city leaders Monday officially broke ground on a new outdoor classroom and natural playscape at Plaster Creek Family Park. Students of Burton’s elementary and middle schools helped create the plans, with six fifth-graders leading park audits and surveys and providing recommendations to the project team.
The outdoor classroom dubbed “The Nest” will have raised planters for a vegetable garden, a rain garden, a meadow of native plants and community picnic area.
“The Meadows” will be a recreational area featuring a stump forest and log jam activity area created from trees harvested by Grand Rapids’ forestry workers. The space will also include pathways, a picnic area with tables and grills and upgrades to the athletic field and restrooms.
Grand Rapids Mayor Rosalynn Bliss said the project moves the city a step closer to its goal of having all residents within a 10-minute walk of a park. It also complements the “Thrive Outside” initiative encouraging people to make time in the outdoors part of their lifestyle.
The project is expected to be complete by the end of October.