My 3 year old boy is named Theodore. Theo loves to explore the outdoors, his favorite playground. We're fortunate to live just a hop, skip, and jump over a stream to what will be his first school, Cranbrook Elementrary. The school is highly diverse with students representing 27 countries and speaking 24 different languages. Cranbrook Elementary owns about 10 acres of land that includes a stream called Slyh Run that feeds into the Olentangy River, as well as a wooded area, and wide open fields. A perfect landscape for adventure and ripe for nature based education.
Several neighborhood partners agreed that this is a unique space for a school. The community came together to secure investments for restoration and revitalization efforts of the stream surrounding the school grounds. Hundreds of volunteers, led by the gracious Friends of the Lower Olentangy Watershed (FLOW), came together to pull invasives (those pesky honeysuckles), replant trees and shrubs to mitigate erosion along the stream bank, and create a native prairie/pollinator garden fully equiped with bluebird boxes surrounding the prairie. There are ideas of planting a community garden here too!
Students will soon have the opportunity to learn about the important role of pollinators; the impacts of habitat fragmentation; species decline; restoration methods; and building a foundational knowledge of the scientific method and research. These children will build a strong base of affinity for the natural world that they will take with them into adulthood.
As someone who understands the value of having more pollinator plants for the overall health of so many species, and also as a mother who would love to see more environmental based education within schools, I'm a fan of what's going on here.
If only the children could safely access this land across the stream from the school.
Currently, access from the school building is dangerous. The bank is steep and it is difficult to cross. The school is not currently comfortable utilizing this incredible educational resource literally steps away from their doorstep. The one thing we need is a pedestrian bridge.
Building a bridge allowing access for students to cross the stream to the north parcel is the first step toward building an opportunity for Cranbrook students to build a sense of appreciation for the local environment and their community.
This bridge will enable teachers to take advantage of the local environment when developing curriculum. I would love nothing more than for Theo, and all of the Cranbrook children to have the ability to enrich their experiences at school through environmental education.
The pedestrian bridge is going to cost $43,000. We have had great success in raising a majority of what is needed and we only need $11,483 more!
Thanks to the following donors for helping us get there:
City of Columbus funding of a UIRF project supported by the Clintonville Area Commission: $20,000
Columbus Foundation: $10,000
Cranbrook PTO: $1,000
Neighborhood Garage Sale: $517
WITH YOUR HELP, WE CAN RAISE THE REMAINING $11,483 NEEDED.
We are looking to local leaders, organizations, neighbors, friends, family, and businesses to come together to help the community raise the final dollars needed to build the next generation of environmental stewards. And heck, if my community can pull this off, so could yours. Environmental education could take root in schools all over our community.
This "land lab" is a wonderful resource that will enhance the educational experience for all students, including my little boy Theo. Make a gift of $100 or more and you'll be commemorated on a plaque near the bridge. Thank you!
And if you'd like to receive a tax deduction for your contribution, you can donate directly to the Friends of Lower Olentangy Watershed (FLOW) at http://www.olentangywatershed.org/?page_id=214 and note "Cranbrook Bridge" under "special instructions."