This $6,000 continuation grant will build on the impact of the initial project. The area that was cleared and reimagined as The Outdoor Learnscape has been a creative inspiration for the entire school.

This year, Deborah Pecora will head up a team from Bartle Elementary School and the community, including fellow educators Tracey Maiden, Keith Presty, Jewel Seroka, Jodi McLean and Rachel Pasichow; parent volunteers, Meredith Carman and Nikki Gonzalez; and the school’s principal, Anthony Benjamin. Together, they will continue developing the learning zones and landscapes that were established during the first phase of the grant. Much work has already been done, such as:

  • wheelchair accessible table benches were installed
  • accessible pathway weaves through the length of the Learnscape area
  • water source was refurbished and updated
  • expert planting design was developed
  • art projects to decorate the space are taking shape
  • furnishings are on the way

The project plan has two NEW objectives. One is a research project that students will conduct on the various plantings. The reports will be linked to QR codes that will be staked to weatherproof signs near each plant. Families of the students and community members will be invited to the Learnscape area for a tour and presentation using the QR codes. The second objective is to establish a high-tech model weather station in the Learnscape area. The station would provide digitalized data reports on temperature, wind speed/direction, barometric pressure, humidity, and so much more. The information could be reported to the school community on a daily basis during the school’s morning TV programming, as well as the town’s website. Limitless science projects can also be developed using the weather station software.

The firmly established Learnscape Committee will help with area clean up, construction, instructional support, and other tasks. Networking with local organizations, clubs, committees, and schools and universities continues to develop a comprehensive resource base for all areas of the Learnscape from instruction to maintenance. The initial success of the Learnscape garnered the financial support of local organizations that will help with the program going forward.

For further information, contact:

Deborah Pecora
(732) 572-4100, ext. 2115 (Bartle Elementary School)

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