Mounds View Celebrates Minnesota's 125th School Forest
Edgewood Middle School in Mounds View recently celebrated becoming the state's 125th School Forest. The 15-acre woodlot adjacent to the school grounds contains two ponds and a loop trail. Edgewood Middle School is a STEAM School–Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math. "The school forest provides a place for students to apply real-world investigation and problem-solving skills in the outdoor classroom. Edgewood's STEAM focus has allowed the students to consider their school forest from many angles," said Penny Howard, Edgewood principal. Teachers from many disciplines plan to use the site for weekly instruction, and students are planning some major trail improvements. By integrating the Edgewood School Forest into school curriculum, the school will introduce students to skills they will need as future stewards, landowners, and natural resources professionals.
A group of 20 students took on invigorating, planning, and establishing a School Forest as a STEAM course project. This included working with the DNR, presenting to the school board, completing the application, planning trails and outdoor seating area, and creating an initial inventory of plant and animal species. At the ribbon-cutting ceremony, Jada, a 7th grader, explained, "Not only does this wilderness provide different learning tools and education, but also a place to get away from all the craziness of the real world."
To celebrate the momentous occasion of the 125th Minnesota School Forest, DNR commissioner Tom Landwehr, state forester Forrest Boe, and superintendent Dan Hoverman, were in attendance.