Outdoor learning at Chamisa

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Education > Chamisa is the first to build such a structure

By Tris DeRoma

Chamisa is the first school to get one, and others may soon follow.
Thanks to a $10,000 grant provided by the Los Alamos Public Schools Foundation, Chamisa Elementary School recently set up its first outdoor classroom, a geodesic structure located just behind the main building.
The school’s principal, Debbie Smith, is sure the school will get multiple uses out of it for years to come. Ecology, alternative energy, Earth sciences, biology, and botany are just some of the planned uses for the building, she said.
The grant to build the impressive-looking structure came through the Los Alamos Public Schools Foundation. According to Joanna Gillespie, the grant was a result of a donation from the Ed and Betty Rynd estate.
“One of the things we elected to do with the funds as a way to honor them was to name an outdoor classroom at each of the seven schools after them,” Gillespie said. “They were a couple that was very dedicated to community service and education. Those are values that the foundation also holds dear, and we thought this was a good way to honor their memory.”
Chamisa, as will the other schools, had some leeway as to the classroom’s design and function.

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