EHS biology class opens outdoor classroom
The 10th-grade biology classes at the school opened their new outdoor classroom on Thursday, May 31.
“We’ve been working with these kids for a year now in a meaningful watershed education experience, so we basically taught them how to be riverkeepers. They tested nearby waters, they identified issues that were a problem in areas that need to be improved, and they proposed to completely renovate this outdoor classroom.” Elle Basset Riverkeeper
EASTON — When you walk through the courtyard at Easton High School, all you see now is a beautiful pond where students can sit and learn. The 10th-grade biology classes at the school opened their new outdoor classroom on Thursday, May 31.
“The biology classes of Easton High School were picking action projects for them to do to try to teach them more about environmental problems, and so my classes voted to take this area and make it into an outdoor classroom so that it can be more feasible space that people can use, rather then just a passing through of a courtyard,” said biology teacher Tracy Detrich. “We worked on planting more plants around the pond area and cleaning it up.”
Detrich’s class wanted the pond area to have more plants, received funding to get an outdoor whiteboard that is waterproof and built the benches in the courtyard, Detrich said.
“The last piece of it is we are going to advertise it to the rest of the school and set up a calendar so that other teachers can use it,” Detrich said.
Detrich thinks the making of the outdoor classroom helped the students who may not be the strongest academically to shine through in building it.
“I got to see a whole other side of students in that way,” she said.
Another reason the project was beneficial is that some of the students came together and worked as a team to figure out a plan.
“I’m hoping all of the students in the school would be able to use it at some point,” Detrich said. “Some of my students did research and found statistics saying that is you have trees in your area, and if you are outside in nature, that you can have a higher retention rate of your content than sometimes in traditional classroom. So that was some of their backing in order to get the principal to approve their project.”
Elle Basset, who is a riverkeeper with Shore Rivers, helped the students on the project.
“We’ve been working with these kids for a year now in a meaningful watershed education experience, so we basically taught them how to be riverkeepers,” Basset said. “They tested nearby waters, they identified issues that were a problem in areas that need to be improved, and they proposed to completely renovate this outdoor classroom.”
Basset said she thinks the outdoor classroom education is beneficial.
“It changes students perspective, so the opportunity to have a space for even English and math to come outside and learn, it’s just another opportunity to get the students to reconnect to their outdoor environment instead of being trapped inside all the time,” she said.
The students think that having an outdoor classroom is beneficial, as well.
“I believe this will help us to get a more of an outside aspect for learning, and maybe for some people will benefit from learning outside instead of learning in a classroom,” said Marley, one of Detrcih’s 10th-grade students.
Tracy Detrich’s class was accompanied by Easton Mayor Robert C. Willey and Talbot County Public Schools Superintendent Kelly Griffith on Thursday, May 31, to open the new outdoor classroom at Easton High School.
Easton High School students built this pond as part of the new outdoor classroom.