Volunteers work on finishing the garden during the final build day. (Photo from Degolyer blog)

Another neighborhood school is taking its curriculum outside and bringing students closer to the natural world.

The Degolyer Elementary Discovery Garden is nearing completion with a dedication ceremony set for 4 p.m. Saturday, March 31 during the school’s annual carnival 2-5 p.m. The outdoor classroom will help teach students how to grow their own vegetables, observe and identify butterflies and perform science experiments. It’s also a quiet, reflective space to kick back and read a good book.

Volunteers worked for months building out the garden with help from Lowes, which provided a $4,000 Toolbox for Education Grant. The Degolyer Dads Club raised $6,000 for the project. The Degolyer Discovery Garden blog tracked the progress from the beginning when the area was just dead grass.

The garden is designed to last for years to come, incorporating a water-wise landscape sustained by barrels that catch rain water. That teaches students another important lesson – natural preservation.

During this weekend’s dedication, Degolyer will honor its veteran teachers who retired in 2011 after serving some 40 years at the school. Each teacher will have a stone in garden engraved with their favorite quote.

Degoyler isn’t the only public school in Preston Hollow to embrace the idea of a living outdoor laboratory, garnering community support to make it happen on a limited budget.

With the help of REAL School Gardens and dedicated parents, the Withers Elementary garden thrives, featuring an impressive koi pond, live fruit trees and vegetable plots. The students even host a farmers’ market in the spring. Nathan Adams Elementary installed its garden this past winter, and Kramer Elementary is revitalizing its old learning garden.

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