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Progress continues on outdoor classroom in Newfolden, Minn.

NEWFOLDEN, Minn.--More progress on creating an outdoor learning space near Marshall County Central Schools will soon be taking root. Earlier this week, 10th grade biology students began seeding a 6-acre area with native grasses as part an effort ...

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Marshall County Central Schools 10th grade biology students gather to begin seeding a 6-acre area where an outdoor classroom space is planned near their school in Newfolden, Minn. Photo by Brandi Jewett/Grand Forks Herald.

NEWFOLDEN, Minn.-More progress on creating an outdoor learning space near Marshall County Central Schools will soon be taking root. Earlier this week, 10th grade biology students began seeding a 6-acre area with native grasses as part an effort to convert it to a restored prairie, part of which would serve as an outdoor classroom. Laurie Fairchild, a private lands biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, led Thursday's seeding effort, which required students to systematically drop the seeds over the land. "First, the students had to mix the seeds, as there were a variety of different seeds that needed to be mixed evenly so that there is a wide variety of seeds spread across the entire outdoor classroom site," science teacher Josh Tharaldson said.
 Students completed the job with handheld bag seeders that drop seeds as a crank was turned and push seeders that drop seeds as they rolled along the ground. About 12 pounds of seed were used per acre, Tharaldson said. The students were tasked with measuring out each section of the 6-acre area and ensured seeds were spread evenly by walking in straight lines between sets of flags. In October, the Newfolden Fire Department conducted a controlled burn on the site and students removed debris. Starting a few weeks ago, brush on the classroom site was mowed to expose as much of the ground as possible, Tharaldson said. In addition to restoring the prairie grassland, there are plans to build a boardwalk to allow access to some of the site's swampier portions. Benches also would be constructed to provide seating for students and others that may venture into the area, as it would be open to the public. Science classes taught at the school that could utilize the site include biology, ecology, environmental science and life science, but Tharaldson told the Herald in November he'd like to see classes of any subject and students of all ages using the outdoor classroom. The effort to restore the prairie is paid for by a grant from the Fish and Wildlife Service's Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program. The grant only pays for work on the land, so it's up to the school district to collect money for the boardwalk and benches-a cost of about $10,000. Those interested in sponsoring sections of the boardwalk or benches can call the school district for more information at (218) 874-8530.NEWFOLDEN, Minn.-More progress on creating an outdoor learning space near Marshall County Central Schools will soon be taking root.Earlier this week, 10th grade biology students began seeding a 6-acre area with native grasses as part an effort to convert it to a restored prairie, part of which would serve as an outdoor classroom.Laurie Fairchild, a private lands biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, led Thursday's seeding effort, which required students to systematically drop the seeds over the land."First, the students had to mix the seeds, as there were a variety of different seeds that needed to be mixed evenly so that there is a wide variety of seeds spread across the entire outdoor classroom site," science teacher Josh Tharaldson said.
 Students completed the job with handheld bag seeders that drop seeds as a crank was turned and push seeders that drop seeds as they rolled along the ground. About 12 pounds of seed were used per acre, Tharaldson said.The students were tasked with measuring out each section of the 6-acre area and ensured seeds were spread evenly by walking in straight lines between sets of flags.In October, the Newfolden Fire Department conducted a controlled burn on the site and students removed debris. Starting a few weeks ago, brush on the classroom site was mowed to expose as much of the ground as possible, Tharaldson said.In addition to restoring the prairie grassland, there are plans to build a boardwalk to allow access to some of the site's swampier portions. Benches also would be constructed to provide seating for students and others that may venture into the area, as it would be open to the public.Science classes taught at the school that could utilize the site include biology, ecology, environmental science and life science, but Tharaldson told the Herald in November he'd like to see classes of any subject and students of all ages using the outdoor classroom.The effort to restore the prairie is paid for by a grant from the Fish and Wildlife Service's Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program. The grant only pays for work on the land, so it's up to the school district to collect money for the boardwalk and benches-a cost of about $10,000.Those interested in sponsoring sections of the boardwalk or benches can call the school district for more information at (218) 874-8530.

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Laurie Fairchild, a private lands biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, shows Marshall County Central 10th graders grass seeds they will be spreading as part of their work to create an outdoor classroom in Newfolden, Minn. Photo by Brandi Jewett/Grand Forks Herald

Related Topics: EDUCATION
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