Outdoor Classroom Update 5.1.2017

We have worked on two mass brush and forest clean-ups to remove the undergrowth, stumps and tree limbs lying in the tree house playground area. Karen Stark, Outdoor Classroom Chair and her husband Brandon Waldrop, have sprayed the entire site to remove the poison ivy and poison sumac. A chain-link fence is being built to create boundaries for the playground and Ms. Laurie is working with the amazing Robert Lewis from Robert Lewis and Associates to build a large butterfly garden during the first week of May. Neil Garrison, former Director of Martin Nature Park has helped us identify many wildlife and plant species along the creek bed and wetland to help us create a meaningful nature walk path to teach students about the history and usage of each of the native plants. For example, we’ve identified several soap berry (Sapindus pictured below), also known as, soap nuts were used by Native Americans to create natural soap?

Wildlife already identified near The Glade:

  • Coyote tracks
  • Racoon tracks
  • 12 species of birds, including the rare neotropical migrant, the Prothonatary Warbler, pictured below:

  • Male Northern Baltimore Oriole pictured below:

  • Deer tracks
  • Blue gill fish in the wetland
  • Frogs and other amphibian eggs
  • Red fox den

We are thrilled that Surrey Hills Baptist Church youth group has agreed to help with a portion of the brush and limb clean-up, but we could still use 3-4 more groups to come out and clear-out tree limbs and brush that are blocking the future trail to the vernal pond, affectionately named “The Glade “and creek observation area. This is critical to clearing the area before we begin preparing the site to build the tree house playground. Do you know of a civic or church group that could lend us a hand? Please call Sara Lux, Director of Development at 405-752-3555 or email her directly at slux@kingsgateschool.com to arrange a service date.

As we continue to plan for the next phase of the outdoor classroom we could certainly use a hand finding the items listed below. We plan on building the tree house decks out of Treks, a recycled composite that will not rot overtime like wood. We will need to gather-up the larger recycled materials to add to the decks soon, so we’ll know how much weight the structure will need to bear in advance.

Can you help us find any of these items:

  • Volunteer time to help contact local plant nurseries for flowers, seeds and other gardening tools
  • Sea oat grass seed to plan near the creek bed to help mitigate erosion
  • Recycled airplane parts or tractor seats for the playground
  • Mulch and seeds. Preferred annuals include: zinnias, marigold, sunflowers, Mexican Sunflowers and Queen Anne’s lace
  • Fencing for the butterfly garden
  • Tires of varied size

Would you like to learn more about Oklahoma’s wetlands? Visit the following link for the Wet, Wild and Wonderful Oklahoma guide: HERE

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