Lead Mine Elementary School

Lead Mine Elementary School, Raleigh, NC. This WorldLegacy Leadership project created an outdoor classroom and nature path. July 2004. NC66.

School takes the classroom outdoors

July 23, 2004
Author: Delawese Fulton; Staff Writer

RALEIGH — Third-graders Madison Dickinson and Olivia Allen were busy looking for salamanders along a small, unnamed creek in the woods behind Lead Mine Elementary Monday morning.
The two girls had just left their mothers and about 30 other parents and guests who also ventured to the woods to celebrate the renovation and opening of the school’s outdoor amphitheater and classroom — just in time for the start of classes Aug. 10.
Volunteers from the WorldLegacy, an adult educational leadership program based in Morrisville, along with Lead Mine’s PTA and students, began renovating the school’s eight-to-10-year-old amphitheater three weeks ago. Railing was installed on a small wooden rectangular stage and rows of benches situated in front of the stage area were repaired and given a protective coating.
Nature paths were also built, leading from the school’s baseball field and playground area to the tree-hidden amphitheater. Spray-painted yellow paw prints dot trees and guide one along the paths.
“I like it,” said Madison, taking a break from salamander hunting. “I can come down here and do school projects.”
Lead Mine assistant principal Scott Scheuer told the volunteers and parents they were “breathing life into a part of the school which had been dormant for a while.”
Scheuer refers to the area as an “outdoor classroom.” He said it was built around 10 years ago.
He said his and the teachers’ hope is to make the area a place not only for their students to learn and gain an appreciation for science and nature but where they are inspired to write poetry for their language arts class and inspired to know more about past cultures such as those that depended greatly on forest and wildlife.
Amanda Cochrane, a member of the WorldLegacy NC-66 Leadership Group and a Lead Mine parent, was aware of damage caused by hurricanes to the outdoor amphitheater and thought repairing it would be a good way for her group to make a difference in their community.
“And the school means a lot to me,” she added.
Cochrane said the first couple weeks were spent planning, fund raising and obtaining materials. They received about $12,000 in donations.
“We [built] it over a weekend,” she said, referring to the trails and bench and stage replacements.
About 90 WorldLegacy members, parents, teachers and students helped complete the three-week project. They also tagged labels to plants and trees, listing scientific names and other related information.
Later in the school year, Scheuer said, they will have a contest for students to name the small creek on the school’s property. It flows to Greystone Lake and then to Crabtree Creek, he said.
Reprinted with Permission of The News & Observer of Raleigh, North Carolina