Lincoln Elementary School: Native Garden Classroom

Students: 41
Staff: 1
Mentor: Justin Rios
Project type: Outdoor Learning Space
Location: River Forest
Grade levels: Elementary School

Students and staff at Lincoln Elementary wanted to transform their existing, but underused native garden into an inviting and educational communal space for all Lincoln students and community members. The renovation added seating, a teaching wall and plant signage to best accommodate outdoor learning and teach all visitors about the wildlife within the garden. The project has been a community effort, with local organizations donating materials, services and even artwork to place in the garden.

A local welder donated metal hooks for the teaching wall, and the Cook County Forest Preserve and the Village’s Forestry Department provided the wood for the Lincoln team to build their own upcycled benches. The garden will also feature totem sculptures created by the 3rd grade Sustainability Club, and each of the 26 plant labels will have a work of art by a Lincoln family. Lincoln plans to keep improving their garden classroom based on community feedback, and hopes to create another such classroom in Lincoln’s other large garden space.