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AISD, National Wildlife Federation Celebrate Opening of Outdoor Learning Center

Innovative Outdoor Habitat Connects Digital Natives with Nature

Austin, Texas--The Austin Independent School District, the National Wildlife Federation and community volunteers will celebrate the completion of a district-wide, outdoor learning center, which features a solar classroom and an outdoor habitat with plants and materials native to Central Texas.


What: AISD and its partners will host a ribbon cutting ceremony for the district-wide demonstration wildlife habitat and outdoor learning center with learning stations that connect students with nature.


When: 5:30 p.m. Thursday, May 16


Where: AISD's Science and Health Resource Center, 305 N. Bluff Dr., adjacent to Pleasant Hill Elementary School


Background: During the past two years AISD, with the help of NWF, the Toyota USA Foundation, HEB, 3M, Frost Bank and Westcave Preserve, have installed 22 certified schoolyard habitats throughout the district to connect students with nature.

Today's children are the first generation to grow up almost completely isolated from nature. Outdoor time for children has decreased by almost 90 percent, while time spent inside and plugged into electronic media, has stretched to seven hours per day on average, according to NWF.

AISD and NWF believe a students' ability to achieve in science and math is greatly enhanced when educators use the natural environment as a context for learning, particularly in an outdoor setting. This is particularly important in urban school districts such as AISD that aim to improve their students' performance in math and science, while developing the whole child. This new demonstration site offers students the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in a living laboratory, which both introduces children to the natural world, and increases student performance.

For more information, please visit the project's website at