Delaware students go outside to learn

Mother Nature now has her very own classroom, and it’s in Delaware.

The Appoquinimink School District unveiled Delaware’s first outdoor classroom Friday, dedicated to conservation and cutting-edge green technologies. Located in Middletown behind Bunker Hill Elementary School, the outdoor lab is a resource for schools across the state.

“It’s active, hands-on, interactive, they’ll be collarborative, they’ll be working in teams, they’ll be working with each other to problem solve and do creative thinking,” said Appoquinimink Superintendent Dr. Tony Marchio.

“It turned out so nice, it’s just really good to see that what we did turned out so good,” said Appoquinimink High School sophomore Kaitlyn Cometa. She and some classmates created a nature trail for the classroom and planted thousands of dollars worth of donated plants native to Delaware, courtesy of Moon Nurseries

The almost entirely self-sustainable outdoor classroom includes solar panels, a wind turbine and rain barrels, which are hooked up to a hydration system that waters the classroom’s gardens. There’s also a building that houses a touch-sensitive computer program that shows students exactly how much energy is being created from renewable sources and how many trees are being saved every hour from generating renewable power. Lastly, transformers on site show students how green energy is converted into usable electricity.

“This is exactly the kind of place that science becomes relevant and exciting for young people who can learn how these promising technologies will both improve our environment, improve our community and help create the jobs of the future,” said Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del).

“The more these renewable energy skills these kids have, the more likely it is that there are gonna be renewable energy jobs right here in Delaware,” said Gov. Jack Markell.

The school district says this is the first renewable energy classroom in the U.S. Sen. Coons hopes it will challenge other schools across the state, and across the country, to step up.

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