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The Pajarito Environmental Education Center was recently awarded a $7,600 Outdoor Classroom grant from Lowe’s Charitable and Education Foundation. PEEC will use these funds to further develop their science and nature education programs by building a shade structure storage shed, and greenhouse in the garden classroom, and purchasing gardening tools for the kids gardening program. The grant will also pay for energy efficiency upgrades by adding insulation to the roof and insulated blinds to windows in the nature center.The Outdoor Classroom grant program, started in 2005 by Lowe’s Charitable and Education Foundation and National Geographic Explorer magazine, has funded the construction and expansion of outdoor learning environments at public schools nation-wide. During the past two years, more than 200 schools have received Outdoor Classroom grants totaling more than $40,000.“We wish to thank Lowe’s for generously supporting science and nature education at PEEC with an Outdoor Classroom grant,” said Branden Willman-Kozimor, program coordinator for PEEC. “We look forward to implementing these projects and expanding opportunities for our students and the community to learn.”The PEEC garden classroom will give students the opportunity to learn about local food security, organic gardening and water conservation. By making a connection to nature through the garden experience, children take away knowledge about life sciences, nutrition, and make a personal connection to the food we eat and the ecosystems in which we live, Willman-Kozimor said.The energy upgrades made possible by the grant will lower utility bills and provide tools for demonstrating how to retrofit older buildings for energy efficiency. As a further collaboration, the building trades classes at Los Alamos High School will assist in installing the insulation. Instructor John Henry will teach the classes.“Through our partnership with National Geographic Explorer, we hope to expand science curriculum for educators and enhance the classroom experience for students through hands-on learning opportunities,” said Larry D. Stone, chairman of Lowe’s Charitable and Educational Foundation.Apply for this and other Lowe’s grants at www.ToolboxforEducation.com.