Spruce-Up Your Outdoor Classroom

Kara Ficke, Nature Explore Resource Development Manager, CPSI   Kelsey Moline, Nature Explore Classroom Designer

498_114For many, it has been a busy school year and outdoor classrooms have been loved dearly by children, educators and families throughout the fall, winter and spring months.  Summer is a great time to replenish your classroom for the upcoming school year, so let’s roll up our sleeves and check some maintenance to-do’s off the list!

Before you get started, quickly assess your outdoor classroom and jot down the areas that will need attention.  This will help as you plan work days.  We recommend partnering with local civic and youth groups, as well as families – getting community involved to support children’s connection with nature is simply awesome.

Nourishing and Encouraging Plant Growth

Care of Wooden Furnishings


Pathways and Flooring

Loose Parts

spruce upIf you have not yet added Keeping it Growing: Sustaining Your Outdoor Classroom to your references, we would highly recommend it.  The sustainability indicators outlined in this book will keep your outdoor classroom thriving and your hard work supported. How has your site worked with families and community members to help maintain your outdoor classroom? Comment below to share with our growing network!

3 responses on “Spruce-Up Your Outdoor Classroom”


As though a sheet of polished silver metal left behind, a small pond gleamed up at me in the woods. Diffuse light seemed concentrated here, for all about shadows were linked to each other to make a wrapping spread over the ground.

And then a dimple slipped away from one bank. I bent down and looked closely: a boat on stilts as it were had disengaged itself from the edge and was now pushing itself along by pressing down on the surface tension like one walking on deep but strongly crusted snow with snowshoes.

Here almost skating along sped a black water strider, an insect with a canoe-like body held aloft by four outriggers, its second and third pair of legs, while the front pair was hunched up before its face like the gloved arms of a prizefighter.

In this way water striders will travel along pond surfaces while hunting for smaller inhabitants of that thin roof. They also signal to each other by tapping with their forelegs on the water surface, the ripples created in this way bellying out in search of similar insects. So one’s mate or competitor is met.

I see the trees so dimly now

Through the windows and their snow,

Where skaters in the long, long night

Have come to rest within my sight.

How I wish to be with them

Out there skating, feeling when

It is time to put aside

All the winds that I would ride.

But if you’d ask me for a choice

(If I heard your silver voice),

Why I would choose to be with you

If you would seek to be here, too.

There’s little that we would not know

If we could share a night of snow.


Eula Nichols says:

I grew up in a small town. My brothers and sisters played in the woods behind and across from our slab home
I enjoy your concept.

thank you

natureexplore says:

Thank you for commenting! We’re glad you enjoyed reading this blog entry. Spending time outdoors is something many of us grew up experiencing, and something we hope to share with future generations.

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