Forest Rehabilitation and Education Lead
by Fairview Elementary 5th Graders
Columbia, Missouri is home to one of the schools in the Place Network: Fairview Elementary. The fifth graders have been working to improve the environment around their school for years, inspiring local agencies to join in! Learn more through the eyes of the students, reported by Foster and Ali.
Fairview Elementary School is the first placed-based school in Missouri. Fairview is a suburban K-5 school in the large college town of Columbia in the center of our state. We have chickens, beehives and a place based playground. A place based playground has lots of natural elements like downed trees to climb on, wooden structures, and we used recycled items like tires to create other elements. Our school is also lucky to be near a pond, forest, prairie, and even a bird sanctuary! The forest is bordering our school grounds and is part of a city park.
The students at Fairview have been working on clearing invasive honeysuckle from the forest to make it more accessible for at least 6 years. We have uncovered trails and now students and our community can easily enjoy the wonders our forest has to offer. The City of Columbia Parks Department has noticed our work and started making improvements too. They have replaced benches for our outdoor classroom, repaired and replaced bridges, and added steps in areas for easier access. Other schools in Columbia have been coming to our forest for field trips to see the awesome work we have done and to learn about the forest ecosystem.
Now that so many people are using the forest we decided to add park signs. The signs will clearly mark trails and educate others about the ecosystems we have here at Fairview. Fifth graders are working on educational signs about animals we have in our forest and their tracks, the different species of trees growing here, layers of the forest, dangers in our forest, pond life, and much more! We hope these signs will educate the community and students about our forest. We hope that if they know more they will help us take care of our wonderful place!
-Foster and Ali, Fairview 5th Graders