TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - Students at Dorr Elementary have been learning about the world outside their classroom for some time now. Today, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources recognized the school as a "WILD School Site" -- the 5th in Lucas County.
"It's a program in which we certify schools with outdoor classrooms used in their curriculum, and encourage kids to get outside," says wildlife communication specialist Meredith Gilbert. She inspected the school earlier in the day, and presented the student body with a certificate acknowledging their continued environmental efforts.
Dorr Elementary has collaborated with the Toledo Zoo to increase milkweed and nectar for migrating monarch butterflies, and that's just one of several reasons for today's recognition.
Project WILD encourages kids how to think -- and not necessarily *what* to think -- about wildlife. The kids themselves planted all the seeds which form the prairie today, just last winter. Teachers and students alike are hoping to expand the prairie for future classmates.
4th grade teacher Kristy DiSalle, who spearheaded this designation for the school, says it's all about discovery.
"I just think they're noticing nature. Instead of just walking right by, they're saying 'Oh, this plant wasn't blooming last week', or 'Wait, we don't hear the cicadas anymore.'"
Students learning about natural changes in their own backyard extends into other aspects of their education, from biology to chemistry -- and occasionally, geography.
"Scientists may capture our monarch in Leakey, Texas, and report it to Monarch Watch. I'll get the e-mail or phone call and tell the students 'Our monarch was found in Texas, on its way to Mexico!' It's just kind of cool."