Outdoor Classrom CouncilBy Robby Astrove

Hopefully you’re reading this outside. If not, go outside right now because this story is all about the outdoors where learning is all around us. Georgia’s 14th annual Outdoor Classroom Symposium will be Friday, Nov. 5, at Zoo Atlanta. The action packed day will feature hands-on sessions on how to create outdoor teaching spaces, speakers, and a volunteer service project in Grant Park.

Many local gardeners and businesses are digging in with plant donations, sponsorship, tools and support. New this year, three speakers will give presentations in Zoo Atlanta’s auditorium. They include Daron Joffe AKA “Farmer D” of Farmer D Organics; Jerry Hightower, Outdoor Educator extraordinaire from the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area; and Dr. Joe Mendelson, Curator of Herpetology at Zoo Atlanta. Other highlights include informative workshops, exhibits, the awards luncheon, and behind the scenes tours of the zoo. Later in the afternoon Garden Hood will host their fun and funk filled Flower Hour into the evening complete with refreshments, atmosphere, and plant discounts.

Paul McClendon, Executive Director of the Environmental Education Alliance of Georgia rally’s a call to action, “The Outdoor Classroom Symposium is an incredible resource for educators and anyone that wants to get outside and learn how to design, maintain, and teach in outdoor settings. It should not be missed by anyone that wants to provide their children with the wonderful experience of outdoor learning.”

Bring the kids and your shovel to learn first hand outdoors! This year’s service project will be Friday morning at 7:30 am to install edible plants including fruit trees, berry bushes, herbs, and a host of native pollinators at the Historic Erskine Fountain in Grant Park (Cherokee and Ormond Street). Neighbors and groups are encouraged to volunteer to learn about edible landscaping and contribute to Atlanta’s growing urban agriculture movement. Please also contribute financially to Grant Park Conservancy to help pay for plants like delicious pomegranates, blueberries, and figs. Additional sponsorship is needed.

“The project will transform the site into a vibrant gathering space with many edible, medicinal, and native plants for the community to enjoy”, says project coordinator Robby Astrove who is partnering with Grant Park Conservancy. Special thanks to Farmer D, Garden Hood, Intown Healthy Hound, Grant Park Coffeehouse, and Grant Park Conservancy for plant donations.

For more information on the service project, donations, and volunteering contact Robby Astrove at (404) 583-0505.  Symposium registration information can be found at www.eealliance.org. Ok, now stay outside…

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.