The Mediapolis, Iowa, Education Foundation has won $5,000 for an outdoor classroom project from Midwest Living's Dream-It Do-It Community Challenge.
"We are very excited," said Julie Schnedler, a Mediapolis middle school teacher who is helping organize the outdoor classroom.
With design work and some excavation already complete, several hands-on activity centers will be built with the grant. "The students cannot wait until spring arrives, when the final touches will be added to the outdoor classroom to make it interactive for students," Ms. Schnedler said. "The next phase is for students to create different zones within the outdoor classroom that will promote hands-on learning, such as arbors with planters, raised garden beds, a butterfly garden, etc."
Midwest Living’s readers nominated dozens of projects for the grant. The magazine’s editors chose five finalists based on clarity of vision/specificity of plan, community impact and indication of ability to complete project. The public was invited to vote from Oct. 15 to Nov. 15, 2013, with the top votegetter receiving $5,000 to carry out its project.
“The projects we saw in the nominations are perfect examples of what makes the Midwest a region we love to celebrate,” said Midwest Living’s Executive Editor Trevor Meers. “Entry after entry displayed creativity and a community spirit that we’re thrilled to support.”
The other finalists were:
- The Community Center Kitchen Project of the Algers, Michigan, Parks and Recreation Department
- The Chicago Area Youth Choir project of Performing Arts USA in Forest Park, Illinois
- Handheld technology for York, Nebraska, Public Schools through the York Public School Foundation
- The Jump Start Home Store project of Soroptomist International of Anderson, Indiana, supporting women recovering from domestic abuse or homelessness