Johnston-Kelly Park --- Our Neighbor
We are fortunate to have Johnston-Kelly Environmental Park next to our school. It has an amphitheater, marsh, bird watching area, network of trails, two native flower gardens and MANY trees and different kinds of berries.
We visit this park once each month to do science and social studies work. Most of our lessons focus on plants and animals that live in this park, how humans can effect the environment, and how a watershed works. Students work in small groups with adults. Each year we do some kind of service project to make the park better. Sometimes we'll get dirty but it always seems to be fun -- and even the teacher learns a lot.
By visiting the park every month we're able to see changes throughout the seasons. During the year students learn how to identify several different kind of native trees and berry plants. Every student adopts a tree to watch over during the year. (Some students return years later, as young adults, to visit their tree.) By learning how to observe nature we make some amazing discoveries. The park is truly our outdoor classroomOur partner in this work is the Everett Parks Department. They are always ready when we have a nature question. A highlight of our year is our annual Earth Day celebration with the Parks Department. Over the years we have planted trees and shrubs together, and even watched the installation of a bat box!