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Submitted By

Paul Garrett

Mechanicsburg, PA, United States

Category

Habitat Helpers

Trails & Trees Environmental Center

I have worked at Mechanicsburg Area School District for over 32 years. During my teaching, I began a classroom group called the Green Team. Over time Green Team has become an afternoon club with over 100 students participating. The district has also invested in environmental education, securing land with trails, a pavilion, 100 year old farmhouse that has recently been converted to a small nature center, and this year saw the addition of an environmental classroom building complete with wind turbine and solar voltaic panels. On the 22 acres, I have spent years building organic teaching gardens including bird and butterfly. On the edge of the woods, we have a very old bird blind where students can observe activity in the trees and surroundings. The Nature Center has a corner, with 2 large windows, where there are bird displays, mounts, touchable feathers, tails and wings. Outside the windows, are many different bird feeders where students learn about the different types of feeders, seed and birds that inhabit their local community. Throughout the year, all classes in the elementary schools come out for outdoor programs and visit the trails, woods, gardens and nature center. I am truly blessed that the school district has invested so much in this type of education which is so important for today's youth.
Schools have very limited funds so they work with groups and grants to constantly add to and improve the surrounding environmental learning center and in doing so, the future stewards of their communities.

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