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Grants to bring outdoor learning parks from renderings to reality

Adams County Open Space grants will soon bring renderings to reality at Welby Community School and the future site of Explore Elementary

We are pleased to announce that Mapleton has been awarded two Adams County Open Space grants to support the construction of outdoor learning parks at Welby Community School and the future site of Explore Elementary. The Board of Education officially accepted the two grants at the Board business meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 27.

For the past year, Mapleton Public Schools has been working closely with the National Park Service Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance program and more than 20 partner organizations to design an outdoor learning park in the open space behind Welby Community School. The $168,839 grant from Adams County Open Space will make it possible for us to begin to dig in on this highly-anticipated project.

After collecting feedback from students, staff and community members, our friends at the National Park Service created a concept map featuring a history walk, demonstration gardens, outdoor classrooms, bird watching areas, and pollinator gardens.  The vision of the outdoor learning park honors the natural history of the area while creating engaging outdoor play and learning spaces that support Welby's EL school model and provide opportunities to engage the Welby community. In the spring on 2019, we will begin the process of assigning landscape design and construction teams to implement the irrigation, pathways and history walk, signage, demonstration gardens and outdoor classroom space. Although the timeline has yet to be established, we hope to welcome our partners back to celebrate the grand opening of the Welby outdoor learning park within a year.

Explore’s outdoor learning park will be constructed at the new school site near 104th Avenue and York Street. The grant will cover planning, design, and construction of irrigation, pathways and signage for the proposed outdoor learning space. To help create meaningful relationships for students and community members with the natural world around them, the space will include a range of recreational activities and experiences. Construction on the new school and the outdoor learning park is expected to begin in 2019.

We thank our partners at Adams County Open Space for helping to make beautiful outdoor learning spaces possible in Mapleton.