Enrico Fermi Performing Arts Outdoor Classroom

Over a two year period, beginning in 2004, Groundwork — with the enthusiastic help of students, teachers, neighbors, and senior citizen volunteers — installed a vibrant outdoor classroom and school garden at Enrico Fermi School.  The Fermi project incorporates 4 different types of gardens: a Xeriscape, or Dry Garden with drought tolerant plants, a Woodland Garden with shade-loving plants, a Bee & Butterfly Garden with a weather station and stone paths, and a Vegetable Garden. Together, the four habitats allow numerous opportunities for creative programming and curriculum integration while providing students with hands-on examples of multiple habitats in an otherwise urbanized neighborhood. The Fermi School is located in Nodine Hill, an economically disadvantaged neighborhood of southwest Yonkers.

In 2008/2009 Groundwork developed a comprehensive outdoor classroom curriculum for use in Fermi School and interested schools throughout downtown Yonkers. Please contact us if you would like more information about our Outdoor Classroom Curriculum.

School 29

In the spring of 2009, Groundwork began a 3-year outdoor education program with School 29, a public elementary school in Yonkers. We worked in two special needs classes and two 3rd grade classes during and after school. After participating in classroom lessons and activities, the students worked together to build and plant several raised bed gardens.  The program in the special needs classes focused on the history, uses, and growing of herbs. This included a variety of hands-on planting experiments in the classroom and culminated in planting an herb garden in a recycled tire. Now the students are growing mint, basil, lavender, and chives along with many vegetables in the raised beds.

These gardens will continue to grow and be part of the educational experience at School 29 with the help and input of their teachers and staff and Groundwork Hudson Valley’s continued involvement.